'I had very mild side effects': Doctor joins group in urging pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine
Although research shows contracting COVID-19 puts pregnant women at higher risk of severe complications from the virus, only 22% of expecting moms have received one or more vaccine doses, the Centers for Disease Control reported.
That's why the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is urging pregnant women to get a COVID-19 shot, noting that months of data show it's safe.
Among the medical experts advocating for vaccines is one who delivered a healthy son in early 2021, and received shots before and after her pregnancy.
"I had very mild side effects from the vaccine," said Dr. Carmen Adams, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Cook County Health. "I only had the arm soreness. I didn't have any other things like fever and headache or anything like that."
And "we are both doing well," Adams said in a recent interview.
The ACOG was joined by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in making its recommendations July 30, and both organizations noted concerns about the surge in COVID-19 cases related to the highly infectious delta variant of the virus.
"ACOG is recommending vaccination of pregnant individuals because we have evidence of the safe and effective use of the vaccine during pregnancy from many tens of thousands of reporting individuals, because we know that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant people at increased risk of severe complications, and because it is clear from the current vaccination rates that people need to feel confident in the safety and protective value of the COVID-19 vaccines," said ACOG President Dr. J. Martin Tucker.
For pregnant women who contract COVID-19, "the data suggests they may have more severe symptoms and be more likely to require hospitalization or ICU admission," Adams said.
Complications for expecting mothers can include some "having preterm labor and things like that," Adams explained.
The associations also said myths about the COVID-19 vaccine being linked to infertility or harming the fetus are not true and lack scientific evidence to back them up.
CDC has also noted that reports show women who received mRNA vaccines, which include BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna may have passed on antibodies to their fetuses that could protect them after birth.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also recommends that moms who are breastfeeding get COVID-19 vaccines.
Adams got her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the end of December and received the second after giving birth in January.
"When I counsel patients, I tell them this vaccine is the best tool to prevent COVID-19 infection and to prevent severe infections and hospitalizations," she said.