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The COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy

Posted at 8:30 AM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 14:47:08-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — With people getting their first doses of COVID-19 vaccines, Many are wondering if the vaccine is safe for certain groups of people.

Dr. Debra Guinn is a OBGYN at Banner UMC and University of Arizona’s College of Medicine Department Obsetrics and Gynecology’s vice chair of research. Having taking the first dose of the vaccine herself, she does recognize there is little to no evidence of the effects of the vaccine on pregnant women.

“Probably so. Unfortunately, when they were developing and trying the vaccine and the different these trials to get it to market or available for all of us through emergency use, they specifically excluded pregnant women,” said Guinn.

But that is the norm, pregnant women are generally not included in clinical trials. So Guinn says, unfortunately, a lot of assumptions have to be made early on.

“The type of vaccine that is being developed is called an M-RNA vaccine and it, in theory, is completely unique, it’s never been tested in a pregnant patient. However, it really does have several attractive features to make you think that it should be less risky potentially than other types of vaccines,” said Guinn.

One of those attractive features is that the M-RNA does not get integrated within a humans DNA, and that its not a live vaccine.

KGUN 9 was there when Dr. Crystal Pacanowski, an OBGYN, received her fist dose of the vaccine. She was 18 weeks along in her pregnancy at the time of the vaccination. She said she is confident in the safety of the vaccine.

“I’m able to see how the COVID virus impacts people, and I understand what the risks are, especially for pregnant women because we are more vulnerable for severe infection. So I felt like it was really important to protect myself, baby and all of the people that I take care of,” said Pacanowski.

But Guinn says she does understand the hesitation.

“Let alone a vaccine that's been so politicized and publicized as this one specifically. But the risk of a life threatening type of reaction to the vaccine is incredibly low in general, no matter what vaccine series you’re talking about. And there's nothing that would make a pregnant patient more likely to have any of those really significant reactions,” said Guinn.

“Although it seems like this is very new technology, the research on MRNA vaccination is not new. This is something that they’ve been looking at for many years,” said Pacanowski.

All-in-all, both doctors do recommend that those who are pregnant and have several risk-factors within that pregnancy are open to becoming vaccinated.