Coronavirus Update New York City: Should pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByLauren Glassberg and Eyewitness News WABC logo
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Should pregnant women get the COVID vaccine?
Questions still remain about how safe it is for pregnant women. Lauren Glassberg has the report.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues across the nation, questions still remain about how safe it is for pregnant women.

Having a baby during COVID can be especially daunting.

"You hear the stories of women who were so sick they were in comas and delivered in a coma and maybe never woke up, obviously those are very tragic," expectant mother Anne Shiraishi said.

But Shiraishi, who lives on the Upper West Side, is doing what she can to stay safe.

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She had her flu vaccine, which is encouraged for pregnant women, but the guidelines for the COVID vaccine are not clear-cut.

"When it comes to taking the vaccine in pregnancy, it's kind of a tricky question because the studies validating the COVID vaccine didn't include pregnant women," Dr. Ashley Roman said.

Roman is the director of maternal fetal medicine at NYU Langone Health. While she isn't able to recommend the vaccine per se, she is able to provide pertinent information to her patients.

"Pregnant women in general are more likely to have severe COVID illness, they are more likely to be hospitalized if they do get COVID in pregnancy," Roman said.

That could factor into a woman's decision to get vaccinated, as can comorbidities, how well she can social distance and wear a mask, and whether she can avoid high-risk situations.

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"A health care worker, for example, who is pregnant might be just the right candidate to get the vaccine... simply because they may be exposed to the virus at work," Roman said.

The vaccine doesn't use a live virus and can't cause genetic changes, so in theory, it should be safe for pregnant women and her fetus.

"Sometimes these decisions are easier than others, certainly the COVID vaccine right now is a tough decision for pregnant women," Roman said.

But Shiraishi know what she would do.

"If I was offered to me I would be willing to take it," she said.

And as the vaccine is administered, more data will be gathered, paving the way for more clarity in the decision-making process.

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