Pregnant Women Should Get The COVID-19 Vaccines, Says UAB Doctor

 1520147740 
1611835504
NaHarai Perez Aguilar, Unsplash

Pregnant women should get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the chair of UAB’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Department.

During a press conference Wednesday, Dr. Warner Huh said the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.

“The reason for it is that …. the risk of being hospitalized, including being in an ICU, being on a ventilator, and also dying is going to be higher than their non-pregnant counterparts,” Huh said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine have all issued recommendations that the vaccine is offered to pregnant women, women that are breastfeeding, and women who are planning to get pregnant, said to Huh.

But this comes after the World Health Organization recommended against pregnant women from getting the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine except in severe cases.

“This is a brand new area for us,” Huh said. “There’s still a lot we don’t know, and there’s ongoing studies looking at the pregnant population, but again on balance – we think the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.”

There’s been a lot of concern and questions about whether the vaccine causes infertility, he said.

“There’s really no compelling evidence that the vaccine would actually affect the women’s future fertility going forward,” said Huh.

Another misconception doctors are hearing is that the mRNA from the COVID-19 vaccine can get to the fetus.

“I think the likelihood of that is pretty small. Again, the mRNA is taken up by basically the local tissue, particularly the muscle in the arm [of the pregnant mother],” said Huh. “The mRNA is taken up relatively quickly. So I think the odds of the mRNA actually getting to the placenta, crossing the placenta, and then getting to the fetus is extremely small.”

Huh advises each pregnant woman to talk about their concerns with their doctor because, he said, ultimately, she should feel comfortable with her decision.

But getting the vaccine has proven more difficult than some originally thought. And it’s unclear when pregnant women will be able to get the vaccine because they aren’t specifically mentioned in the state’s vaccination plan. Alabama is still in the early stages of the vaccination process, but pregnant women should be prioritized, said Huh.

“It wouldn’t surprise me, whatsoever, that in the upcoming weeks, months, perhaps, that the prioritization of vaccine – particularly how where pregnant women fit actually gets revisited both by the CDC as well as, hopefully, the Alabama Department of Public Health,” he said.

Editor’s Note: UAB holds WBHM’s broadcast license, but our news and business departments operate independently.

More Coronavirus Coverage

UAB And JeffCo To Expand Vaccine Outreach In Underrepresented Communities

As of Wednesday, UAB had administered roughly 80,000 vaccine doses, but Black residents remain disproportionately underrepresented.

Alabama’s COVID-19 Death Count Nears 10,000 Mark

Within about a year, the state has lost almost 10,000 Alabamians to COVID-19.

UAB Officials Hopeful Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Could Accelerate Rollout

UAB health experts say when it comes to vaccine variety, more is better. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the latest to win approval from the federal government.

Alabama’s COVID Vaccination Rate Increases

Federal programs have helped increase the number of Alabamians getting vaccinated in recent weeks.

“The Edge of the Woods”: UAB Epidemiologist Says Herd Immunity Could Be Reached By Late Spring

An epidemiologist at UAB Medicine thinks that Alabama may be headed toward a long-sought goal in the COVID pandemic and may reach that goal sooner than many had expected.

Black Residents Call For More COVID Vaccine Outreach And Access

Concerned about disparities in vaccine allocation, Birmingham community leaders want officials to increase outreach efforts in Black neighborhoods.

More Coronavirus Coverage