While pregnant women are at an increased risk for developing severe COVID-19, the rate of vaccinated pregnant women remains low. Around only 35% of pregnant people have received a COVID-19 vaccination. The risks associated with a COVID-19 infection while pregnant include premature birth, stillbirth, and other pregnancy complications. If infected with COVID-19 the patients are more likely to need intensive care and hospitalization. They may need ventilators and other special equipment.
A British mother, Katie Leeming, 22, learned this the hard way. Her daughter, Ivy-Rose was born 14 weeks prematurely weighing only 2lb 30z. After contracting COVID-19 in October, Katie began having heart palpitations and an increased heart rate, according to the Daily Mail.
The doctors told her that the baby’s heart rate was also not “where it needed to be” and they would need to deliver at only 26 weeks. Five-day-old Ivy-Rose was diagnosed with COVID and her heart rate and oxygen levels began to decline severely. On October 22nd, Ivy-Rose was taken off life support.
The mother initially refused the vaccination because of “horror stories” she had read on the Internet. She also stated that she believed there wasn’t enough research into the long-term effects of the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant women and newborns. She still says she doesn’t regret not getting the vaccine.
“I could have still caught COVID-19 after the vaccination, or worse, if I did have it and something happened anyway, I would have blamed the vaccine,” Katie stated in an interview with the Daily Mail.
The Research Doesn’t Back This Up
According to the CDC, early data from safety monitoring systems didn’t find any safety concerns for pregnant people who received an mRNA COVID vaccine, either late in pregnancy or for their babies.
Experts also have not found an increased risk for miscarriage among people who received an mRNA COVID vaccine before pregnancy or in early pregnancy. The CDC continues to monitor vaccinated people during all trimesters to understand the effect on pregnancy and babies.
In addition, receiving a COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy can help build antibodies to COVID-19, which would then transfer to the baby. “Antibodies made after a pregnant person received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine were found in umbilical cord blood. This means COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy might help protect babies against COVID-19,” per the CDC.
COVID-19 Vaccine Unlikely To Have Long-Term Effects
Vaccines as a whole have been shown time and time again to be extremely unlikely to have negative long-term side effects, and the COVID-19 vaccine is no different according to the CDC. Historically, most side effects from vaccines generally occur within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose.
The most common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine include tenderness at the injection site, as well general tiredness, muscle pain, fever, and nausea. For those that do experience side effects, most go away within a couple days.
Meanwhile, the long term side effects of contracting COVID-19 continue to develop, with some lasting for months after infection.