Doctors urge COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant, breastfeeding women

Apr 16, 2021, 1:47 PM
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FILE: Medical assistant Tracey Wootton holds several syringes full of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a drive-thru vaccination clinic at Intermountain Healthcare’s The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Murray on March 4, 2021. Photo: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Doctors say more and more research shows pregnant and breastfeeding women should get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and their babies.

Intermountain Healthcare’s medical director of women’s health gave a briefing Friday to help people understand how COVID-19 affects new moms or moms-to-be. Dr. Sean Esplin said the data shows no concerns for pregnant women from the COVID-19 vaccine.

In fact, it shows protections and antibodies helping mom and passing the benefits along to the baby.

Dr. Esplin said his daughter told him she was pregnant and asked if she should go to her Moderna appointment.

“Now I’m pausing. Now I’m the dad, I’m the grandpa right?” he said. “I said, go get it. Go get it, you are going to be fine.”

Dr. Esplin said more than 50,000 women have received the COVID-19 vaccines, and they have been followed very closely.

“To this point, there are no concerns we are seeing among pregnant women to say, there’s a higher risk of the vaccine during pregnancy,” Esplin said. “So that is really reassuring.”

Despite recent concerns, Dr. Esplin said he still trusts the Johnson and Johnson shot — noting the pause merely shows transparency. For now, he advises pregnant women to get the Moderna or Pfizer version, and to make sure all their other vaccinations are up to date.

Research shows getting COVID-19 can be risky for a pregnant woman, especially if she has underlying health conditions, diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure or obesity.

But he’s more comfortable now with knowing it doesn’t affect the baby as much as first thought.

“We are learning that the vaccine is a huge part of how we prevent this,” he said. “And we are learning how to treat people, and getting more comfortable with the outcomes for babies,” he said.

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Doctors urge COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant, breastfeeding women