In this short video, Dr. Hank Bernstein talks about the safety of COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy.
Can Women Who Are Pregnant Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Hank Bernstein, MD: I'm Hank Bernstein and I'm speaking on behalf of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The question, “Can women who are pregnant get the COVID-19 vaccine?” This is a very important question. There are actually 4 million births a year in this country. So now during the pandemic, this question is one that's asked by many women.
Unfortunately, there are little data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people. Observational data demonstrate that the absolute risk of COVID-19 is low, but those pregnant women who get COVID-19 are at increased risk for morbidity and mortality, specifically illness that requires hospitalization, perhaps being admitted to the intensive care unit, perhaps needing to be put on a ventilator and, sadly, possibly even dying. One recent study suggested 10% of pregnant women are hospitalized with COVID-19 versus only 2.8% of women who are not pregnant age 20 to 39 years. So, what do we do?
If women are in a particular risk group, such as those that work in healthcare personnel — and 75% of healthcare personnel are women — they may choose to be vaccinated, but it's important for them to have a conversation with their clinical team about the pros and cons to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant. When making the decision, the pregnant woman and her healthcare providers should consider the level of COVID-19 transmission in her community, what the side effects of the vaccines are, the efficacy of the particular vaccine, the side effects of the vaccine, and also a full recognition that we don't have clear data about the impact of the vaccine on pregnant women.
Fortunately, V-safe, the smartphone surveillance system of the FDA and the CDC, that system has already enrolled over 15,000 women who are pregnant, so more data will be forthcoming.
Related Centers and Programs: Vaccine Education Center
Last Reviewed on Mar 16, 2021