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COVID Vaccination Safety in individuals who are trying to conceive, pregnant, and/or lactating

We are approaching 2 years of the COVID pandemic. So much has changed since the pandemic first started in early 2020. We now have a lot more information on the disease, wider access to vaccines, and outcomes about vaccine safety!


Despite the information we have proving that the vaccine is safe- many individuals (especially those who are considering pregnancy, are currently pregnant, or are breastfeeding) are still hesitant to get the vaccine. Many myths have circulated, and not all of the information that circulates on the internet, on social media, and among communities is reliable.


Below are links to videos from WV providers answering some of the most common vaccine questions, information from the WV DHHR, and information on how to get a vaccine.

 

The Experts All Agree: The COVID Vaccine is Recommended for individuals who are pregnant, considering pregnancy, and chest/breastfeeding


A joint statement about the safety and benefit of the COVID vaccine was published in the August 2021 edition of "The Quickening".

The following professional organizations participated: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists | American Academy of Family Physicians | American Academy of PAs | American Academy of Pediatrics | American Association of Nurse Practitioners |American College of Nurse-Midwives | American College of Osteopathic Obstetricians & Gynecologists | American College of Physicians | American Pharmacists Association| Association of Immunization Managers |Association of State and Territorial Health Officials | Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses | Infectious Diseases Society of America | Infectious Diseases Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology | National Association of Chain Drug Stores | National Association of County & City Health Officials | National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health | National Foundation for Infectious Diseases | National Hispanic Medical Association | North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology | Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine | Vaccinate Your Family

This is what they had to say: “As the leading organizations representing experts in maternal care and public health professionals that advocate and educate about vaccination, we strongly urge all pregnant individuals – along with recently pregnant, planning to become pregnant, lactating and other eligible individuals — to be vaccinated against COVID-19. “Pregnant individuals are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection, including death. With cases rising as a result of the Delta variant, the best way for pregnant individuals to protect themselves against the potential harm from COVID-19 infection is to be vaccinated. “Maternal care experts want the best outcomes for their patients, and that means both a healthy parent and a healthy baby. Data from tens of thousands of reporting individuals have shown that the COVID-19 vaccine is both safe and effective when administered during pregnancy. The same data have been equally reassuring when it comes to infants born to vaccinated individuals. Moreover, COVID-19 vaccines have no impact on fertility. “Pregnant individuals and those planning to become pregnant should feel confident in choosing vaccination to protect themselves, their infants, their families, and their communities.”

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Questions Answered By WV Experts


The Center for Rural Development - WV Immunization Network gathered providers from across the state to answer some of the most common COVID vaccine questions.

You can view all of the informational video clips by clicking this link.

Click the individual questions below to be linked to the associated video.


“Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for people who want to have a baby soon or in the future?”


“How do mRNA COVID-19 vaccines work?”


“What are COVID-19 variants? And do COVID-19 vaccines protect against them?”

Viruses constantly change, and new variants (or strains) of a virus occur over time. Some variants spread more easily and quickly. The Delta variant, for example, is more than 2x as contagious as previous variants. The Omicron variant is multiple times more contagious than Delta. Getting sick from any strain can lead to severe illness, including in younger people. COVID-19 vaccination provides protection against the virus and is the strongest tool we have to prevent new variants from forming.​ (WVDHHR, 2022)


“What are common short-term side effects after receiving COVID-19 vaccine?”

Some people have mild to moderate side effects that happen within the first few days of vaccination, and others don’t feel anything. Common responses are pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site. Some people also feel tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, or nausea. Side effects after vaccination are a sign the body is building immunity to fight the virus. (WVDHHR, 2022)


“Can children and teens have side effects from COVID-19 vaccination?”


“How did COVID-19 vaccines get developed so quickly?”


“Are there long-term side effects of COVID-19 vaccination?”


"Do the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh any risks of the vaccine?”


“Should children and teens get vaccinated against COVID-19?“


“Should people who are pregnant or breastfeeding get COVID-19 vaccines?”

Yes. People who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or want to become pregnant are recommended to get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring has not identified any concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated or their babies. Vaccinated pregnant and breastfeeding people may even pass along immunity to protect their babies.


Also, pregnant and recently pregnant people who get COVID-19 disease have an increased risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth and possibly stillbirth. Pregnant people with symptomatic COVID-19 have a 70% increased risk of death. As of August 2021, more than 95% of pregnant people who were hospitalized and had COVID-19 were unvaccinated.


For those considering pregnancy, recent research has shown vaccination is safe for fertility (getting pregnant) and early pregnancy outcomes. In fact, some of the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial participants became pregnant, and many West Virginians have gotten pregnant after vaccination. (WVDHHR, 2022)


“Are the COVID-19 vaccines are safe?”

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of volunteers in clinical trials. The trials met the same rigorous standards set for all vaccines by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although side effects from vaccination can occur, they are usually mild to moderate and short lived. Severe reactions to the vaccine are extremely rare. COVID-19 vaccines have been safely administered to billions of people in the U.S. and around the world. COVID-19 vaccines have had the most robust safety monitoring in history. (WVDHHR, 2022)


“Should individuals get the COVID-19 vaccine if they have already had COVID-19?”

Yes. You are at risk of contracting COVID-19 again without protection from vaccination. Immunity from previously having COVID-19 can wear off and may not protect against variants.

Research has shown that those who had a previous infection and then were vaccinated had much stronger protection against COVID-19 disease than just having immunity from a previous infection (without vaccination). A study of hospitalized adults with COVID-like symptoms found unvaccinated people with a previous infection were 5x more likely than vaccinated people to test positive for COVID-19. (WVDHHR, 2022)



 

MYTH BUSTING


A major MYTH that has been widely shared on social media is about impacts on fertility.

A recent study has shown that the COVID vaccine does not decreases chances of conception. It also found that if a male partner was not vaccinated and had COVID in the last 60 days, the chances of conception were lower.


 

For questions about COVID-19 vaccines, please call the WV COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line.

The info line is available Monday - Friday from 8 AM - 6 PM and Saturday from 9 AM - 5 PM. Or, visit vaccine.wv.gov for more information.


 
Contact your healthcare provider to see if they carry the COVID-19 vaccine, visit vaccinate.wv.gov or vaccines.gov​ for more information about vaccination locations, or call the WV COVID-19 Vaccine Info Line at 1-833-734-0965 (M-F 8am-6pm, Sat. 9am-5pm).
 

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