Kristin: Should pregnant women get the COVID Vaccine?
Dr. Abdelhak: You are hearing a lot of different things in the media, on the news, and on different websites. Some of it is true and some of it is not true. I am really encouraging all pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine. There are several reasons why the vaccine is a good idea in pregnancy. Any vaccine is never more dangerous than the virus itself, and the COVID virus is not proven to be damaging to a growing fetus in pregnancy. We don't know this from lab studies unfortunately, we know this because millions of pregnant women have had COVID all throughout the world. If there was an increase in birth defects from the COVID virus itself, that would have been more than apparent by now. We do know that the virus can have terrible effects on the mother. Therefore I am a proponent of women getting the COVID vaccine.
Kristin: What are the effects of COVID-19 in pregnancy?
Dr. Abdelhak: Because of the fluid shifts and the increased cardiac and pulmonary work load, pregnant women are more likely to have the severe effects of COVID than if they were not pregnant. Pregnancy is already a burden on these systems and adding COVID onto that, the body sometimes will not compensate well.
Kristin: Are the side effects found to be different for pregnant women getting the vaccine?
Dr. Abdelhak: No, the side effects are the same as anyone else getting the vaccine, mainly pain at the injection site and mild symptoms.
Kristin: What would you say to women you are afraid of getting the vaccine in pregnancy?
Dr. Abdelhak: If you are a pregnant woman and you are scared of the COVID vaccine, that is understandable, as it's new, but you should be more scared of the COVID virus and getting the COVID virus in pregnancy.
Kristin: Do the antibodies of the vaccine pass to the baby?
Dr. Abdelhak; Yes, there are a lot of recent studies that show that babies do have antibodies after delivery which is theoretically helpful, yet babies are not prone to the serious affects of COVID19.
Kristin: What about the different types of vaccine? MRNA technology as in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine vs. Adenovirus-based/viral vector in the AstraZenica and J&J vaccine? Are they both safe for pregnancy?
Dr. Abdelhak: Yes
Kristin: Are there any situations in pregnancy in which you would counsel a woman not to get the vaccine?
Dr. Abdlehak: The only time I would say to maybe not get the COVID vaccine is if you are already rounding the corner on the end of your pregnancy. Then you might be dealing with some vaccine symptoms without the benefits of pregnancy. Or, if you already have antibodies, you probably do not need the vaccine. You have a natural vaccine which is probably better.
Kristin: Is it safe to get the vaccine in the first trimester?
Dr. Abdlehak: Absolutely, and planning to get pregnant as well. If you are working on getting pregnant I would sign up to get the vaccine as well.
Kristin: There is talk on the internet that it causes infertility.
Dr. Abdelhak. I have not heard that. I would not even given that legitimacy. If I focused on everything that was circulation on the internet, It would be loaded with a lot of misinformation. When you do get information from the internet, it's really important that you look at the source and go to sites that are branded like the CDC, Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic.
Kristin: So you are saying don't get your information from a Facebook post?
Dr. Abdelhak: Right exactly. It's very easy to be misinformed by going to the wrong site. It might sound like scientific data but in fact it is not. The internet is a great resource to get information if you are careful to not get distracted by bad information.
Thanks so much for sitting down with us today!