New guidance from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says pregnant women can and should get vaccinated against coronavirus.
"We have an increasing body of evidence," said Dr. Linda Eckert, ACOG’s liaison on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
Dr. Eckert is also a member of ACOG’s Immunization, Infectious Disease, and Public Health Preparedness Expert Work Group and a professor at the University of Washington.
"We’ve been able to have experience now with the vaccine in pregnancy. We also have more evidence of the benefits of the vaccine as far as antibody transfer to baby," she said.
The updated guidance says COVID-19 vaccine development and regulatory approval are rapidly progressing, and information and recommendations will evolve as more data are collected. It goes on to say claims linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility are unfounded and have no scientific evidence supporting them.
"We have no data at all that supports a fear of infertility. The vaccines are not live. There’s not a live virus. There’s not a way for it to integrate into the DNA," said Dr. Eckert.
According to the updated recommendations, women under age 50, including pregnant individuals, can receive any FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine available to them. However, ACOG says they should be aware of the rare risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) after receipt of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and that other FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are available.
"I think pregnant individuals can consider what works best for them," said Dr. Eckert.
ACOG says obstetrician-gynecologists and other women’s health care practitioners should lead by example by being vaccinated and encouraging eligible patients to be vaccinated as well.
Dr. Carmen Adams, an attending physician at Cook County Health, is one of those doctors.
She was vaccinated in December while pregnant with her son.
"I chose to get the vaccine because I wanted to protect myself and wanted to continue to have a healthy pregnancy," said Dr. Adams.
"I wanted to protect my baby. I knew getting COVID and being pregnant would put me in a higher risk category. Being a Black female put me in a higher risk category. So, I really wanted to protect myself knowing if I’m healthy, my baby would be healthy as well," she said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says pregnant people can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
The CDC is still gathering and closely monitoring its own information about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy. Early data from these systems are preliminary but reassuring, and its data did not identify any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated or their babies.