LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Pregnant women who contract COVID-19 are five times more likely than non-pregnant women to end up in the ICU or on a ventilator, but should they get the vaccine?
Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding have historically been left out of medical trials because they are considered a vulnerable population, meaning doctors do not have any long-term data that could determine a patient's safety.
Still, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine strongly recommends pregnant women have access to the vaccine. Likewise, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that the COVID-19 vaccine should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination.
Doctors with UofL Health said in December that they were hoping to learn more about how the vaccine works within the next few months. Dr. Edward Miller said he has not seen any major impacts on the fetus at this time.
"These vaccines theoretically should have a very low to no risk on genetic problems for a developing fetus, and they also do not incorporate to the adult DNA so there should be no long-term genetic consequences of these vaccines," Miller said.
Dr. Jamil Elfarra with Norton Healthcare said that a pregnant woman might want to receive the vaccine depending on their level of risk of getting COVID-19.
"See how much of a risk is she at of getting COVID-19, is she a health care worker, is she diabetic, is she hypertensive, is she overweight," Elfarra said.
Elfarra said that while doctors do not currently foresee problems with the vaccine, the decision should be made only after weighing the risks and benefits.