COVID-19: the latest information for testing, screening and visitors >>
COVID-19: vaccine information and Q&As >>
Vaccinations during pregnancy are important and common. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you are likely familiar with vaccines that are typically recommended during pregnancy to prevent influenza (flu shot) and pertussis (Tdap vaccine).
Now you may be deciding if you should get the COVID-19 vaccine. This is a personal choice that you should make after talking with your doctor, who is your first point of contact to help you make an informed decision.
What do we know about the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy? The two currently available COVID-19 vaccines consist of messenger RNA (mRNA) and use the body’s own cells to generate the coronavirus spike protein, which stimulates immune cells to create antibodies against COVID-19.
While mRNA vaccines are distinct from influenza and Tdap vaccines currently used during pregnancy, mRNA technology has been in development for the last decade.
The mRNA vaccines can’t give you COVID-19, as they do not contain the live virus that causes the coronavirus. Also, the mRNA does not enter the cell’s nucleus and does not alter human DNA, so the mRNA vaccines cannot cause any genetic changes, and your body’s cells break down the mRNA quickly.
While the current COVID-19 mRNA vaccines haven’t been studied in pregnant or lactating women, based on how mRNA vaccines work, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Likewise, mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant.
While safety data on the use of the current COVID-19 mRNA vaccines in pregnancy are not currently available, there are also no data to indicate that the vaccines should be contraindicated (not used), and the safety for pregnant people is expected to be similar to non-pregnant people.
While there are still many unknowns, we do know that:
Pregnant and breastfeeding women need to weigh the potential benefits of vaccination (including preventing COVID-19 illness) against the potential risks regarding vaccination. Ask yourself, what is the risk of virus exposure and not getting vaccinated?
Guidance from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and CDC, advocate for making COVID-19 vaccines available to pregnant and lactating women in consultation with their doctor.
For the latest updates on the COVID-19 vaccine, please check EEHealth.org/coronavirus/vaccine.
Are you wondering whether to get the vaccine? Read our blog to learn more.
Edward-Elmhurst Health offers screening options for COVID-19, including a symptom checker to advise you on what to do next and a COVID-19 Nurse Triage Line (331-221-5199) to see if you meet testing requirements. We also offer Video Visits and E-Visits for COVID-19 symptoms.
The information in this article may change at any time due to the changing landscape of this pandemic. Read the latest on COVID-19.
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