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Doctor encourages hesitant pregnant women to get COVID-19 vaccine

Being pregnant during the pandemic has been really stressful for so many women. Moms are...
Being pregnant during the pandemic has been really stressful for so many women. Moms are worried about getting the virus and how the virus could impact their baby.(WAVE)
Published: May. 5, 2021 at 9:18 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Being pregnant during the pandemic has been really stressful for so many women. Moms are worried about getting the virus and how the virus could impact their baby. Now that the vaccine is available should pregnant and-or breastfeeding women get the shot? Medical experts say yes.

Mary Wallace had COVID over a year ago. Wallace said she knows how rough having COVID can be.

“I had problems breathing,” Wallace said.

Wallace got better after a few weeks and then found out she was pregnant. A pandemic pregnancy was stressful.

“It was nerve-wracking,” Wallace said.

It was the first pregnancy for her. Wallace and her husband had their baby in February, their son Wade is now 2 and a half months old. Wallace is breastfeeding. After her experience with covid, she says she was ready to get the vaccine. She’s now fully vaccinated.

“I decided to do it because there is a chance to protect my kid and he’s the most important thing in my life now,” Wallace said.

“It’s perfectly safe for lactating women to receive the vaccine,” Dr. Ravi Johar, Chief Medical Officer for United Healthcare said. “We also know there is a certain amount of antibodies through breast milk.”

“The main reason that I plan on sticking with breastfeeding even past the six months is because of covid,” Wallace said.

But, there is a lot of vaccine hesitancy with lactating and pregnant women. Johar with United Healthcare says that’s because initial trials didn’t include these women.

“That’s been something the American College of OBGYN has been vocal about that we need to take care of pregnant and breastfeeding women also and should have been included in trials,” Johar said.

Johar and the CDC do say the COVID vaccine is safe for pregnant and lactating women based on how these vaccines work in the body.

“There has not been anything that says first, second, or third trimester,” Johar said. “I think the sooner you can get it the better because you want that immunity because you want that protection as fast as you can.”

Johar says the three vaccines cleared for use in the US are safe but, that women should be aware the J&J vaccine has been associated with blood clots in a small percentage of people.

The CDC says pregnant women have not reported different side effects from non-pregnant people after getting the vaccine. The CDC says there is currently no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, click here:

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