Q&A – Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe For Pregnant Women?

Today’s entry: Brian, How is (the station) broadcasting that the vaccines are safe for pregnant women when they haven’t even been in the general public for 9 months? Is there a study of babies after one year from birth? 6 months from birth?

Bottom Line: So, you’re actually presenting two different considerations. You’ve asked if vaccines are safe for pregnant women, that's one dynamic. You’ve then questioned the longer-term outcomes for babies. That’s a different question. 

Let’s start with your first question about pregnant women as this has been a concern for many families. We do have a recent study which the CDC has reviewed and posted on August 11th. The study focused on the rate of miscarriages. The average miscarriage rate is 13.5%. In the study, 2,456 pregnant women received one of the mRNA vaccines (Moderna or Pfizer). The rate of miscarriages among those women was 13%, or slightly below average.

The study proved that at a minimum there’s no increase in miscarriages associated with the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. That also speaks to the general wellbeing of the mother as her health is key for a successful pregnancy. The conclusion of the study was, "these findings add to accumulating evidence that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy are safe". 

Now, related to the outcomes of babies. The CDC is actively tracking birth outcomes for pregnant women who’ve been vaccinated with any of the COVID-19 vaccines. This includes an active study of the first year of life for infants of vaccinated mothers. As part of the study of infant death rates, birth defects, and developmental disorders are being granted special consideration. The data is being collected in the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink database.

While it’s too early to have aggregated results as part of that study, the CDC has pointed to animal testing as a likely outcome for human babies. In the animal studies of the Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the CDC concluded that the "COVID-19 vaccine before or during pregnancy found no safety concerns in pregnant animals or their babies". With this information in hand, the CDC’s official recommendation is "COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. Pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, compared with non-pregnant people. Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care, need for a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or illness that results in death. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19".

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods. 

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio 

Photo: Getty Images

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