There has been enough time, research and review of women who received the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant or lactating to provide the level of confidence for the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology to recommend that eligible patients get vaccinated. The quick summary is that they have found no increase in events that they carefully look at such as harm to the fetus or the newborn, slowing of growth of the fetus, pre-term birth of fetus, nor any evidence of infertility.

COVID-19 is particularly cruel to those who are managing chronic illness and other underlying diseases. Though being pregnant is not a disease, the risk it poses from contracting a severe case of COVID-19 is great. If one is pregnant and also not vaccinated, they are at a greater risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, which puts them and their unborn child at risk.

We have honest and direct conversations with our patients and when we ask if they’ve been vaccinated, the majority respond with a “yes,” or they were waiting for the Food & Drug Administration to move the vaccines from Emergency Use Authorization status to complete approval, which occurred a few weeks ago for the Pfizer vaccine. Since there has now been plenty of research and study on the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine, we are encouraging patients to get the vaccine immediately. If anything, this pandemic has just let us all witness what the scientific world can do when they have the right resources to move swiftly through the necessary steps, rather than adopt the usual slower process we have come to expect.

Here are some things to know if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or are breastfeeding:

— A pregnant person does not need a note from their doctor in order to get the vaccine.

— You can get the vaccine simultaneously with other vaccines including within 14 days.

— You do not have to take a pregnancy test in order to get the vaccine.

— None of the three current available vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna & J&J) contain any live virus.

These vaccines do not mix into the body’s genetic material, which would also mean that they will not fasten to the cellular genetic material of the fetus.

Talk to your close family and supportive friends and ensure that they are being safe and healthy around the newborn, new mom, and new dad.

Even though we are one of the highest vaccinated states by population, we must remember that this is a very mobile world which means people from outside of Vermont may or may not be vaccinated. Additionally, we are entering into the fall season and going indoors again, which can increase the risk of spread. So, it is vitally important to get vaccinated and, once you are, to continue to protect yourself and others by following guidance from local and state health departments.

Finally, we recommend that no matter who you are, you talk to your provider and get your questions answered. They are here for you and prepared and willing to provide the guidance and information you need.

More information can be found at:

Rutland Women’s Healthcare: www.rrmc.org/services/womens-health/

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists FAQs.

Today’s Health Talk was written by Robin Leight, medical director of Rutland Women’s Healthcare, a department of Rutland Regional Medical Center.

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