Doctors address COVID vaccine hesitancy in pregnant women

New study shows moms can pass antibodies to baby
Posted at 5:48 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 19:24:29-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — West Michigan doctors are addressing concerns about the COVID vaccine in pregnant women and its effects on fertility.

While they are seeing some hesitancy, a specialist at Spectrum Health said all the data so far points to no issues. In fact, they’re seeing COVID-19 antibodies from the vaccine being passed on to babies.

“There is that hesitancy. I think that’s sort of a natural response,” said Dr. Michael Tsimis, M.D., a maternal fetal medicine physician at Spectrum Health.

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He said it’s a natural response to a vaccine that’s so new, but Dr. Tsimis is encouraging expectant moms to consider vaccination.

He said, “We know, and we have seen through multiple studies that the COVID infection in a pregnant mom usually can lead to worse outcomes. There seems to be even a three-fold increase risk in ICU admissions alone from the infection.”

Dr. Tsimis said it’s all about looking at community spread and potential COVID exposure.

“It’s the risk of getting the infection while being pregnant, balanced by the vaccine, looking at the safety, and looking at how effective it is. That should all be taken into account when making that decision,” said Dr. Tsimis.

In studies from the CDC, Dr.Tsimis said adverse outcomes in vaccinated pregnant women were unchanged.

“The miscarriage rate and the stillbirth risk specifically, were no different from baseline risks, which was very reassuring to know,” he said.

He also points to a new study from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology showing promising results about moms passing along their vaccine-built antibodies.

“The American Journal study out of Boston suggest that we should be looking to vaccinate, because it creates a better immune response, creates a more robust response, and not only that but it protects the pregnant mother, and it also can protect the neonate, who could eventually be exposed after delivery,” Dr. Tsimis explained.

RELATED: Pfizer says its COVID-19 vaccine protects kids as young as 12

When it comes to the vaccine impacting fertility, Dr. Tsimis called the notion unfounded.

“With respect to fertility, that was categorically and scientifically disproven that there is no link between vaccination and a reduction or change in fertility of any kind,” he said.

The same American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology study showed that vaccinated breast-feeding moms also showed signs of passing along antibodies.

RELATED: Poll finds fewer Americans reluctant to get COVID-19 vaccine

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