By Dr. Raymond O. Powrie
Care New England
We get many questions from our patients and employees about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy. Our knowledge about the risk that COVID19 infection represents to pregnant patients and their pregnancy has greatly advanced this year as has our understanding about the role of the vaccine during pregnancy.
It is now clear – as many of us had been suspecting for some time now- that pregnant persons are at a substantially greater risk of severe COVID-related complications when compared to non-pregnant persons of similar age and health. They have a three times higher risk of ICU admissions, a four times higher risk of needing mechanical ventilation and twice the risk of dying from COVID19.
The COVID-19 vaccine on the other hand has been found to be safe for pregnant women and greatly reduces the risk of severe complications of COVID-19 infection. For this reason leading organizations in the country including the CDC and many physician organizations including the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology have made strong statements encouraging pregnant women to get the COVID19 vaccine to help ensure the best possible outcome for their pregnancy during the pandemic.
Our own experts at Care New England, Dr. Method Tuuli (the Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Women and Infants Hospital and the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University), Dr. Erica Hardy (trained in Medicine, Pediatrics and Infectious Disease, our CNE Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and a member of the NIH COVID19 Treatment Guidelines panel for recommendations related to COVID19 care in pregnancy) and Dr. Nina Ayala (one of our high risk obstetricians) have reviewed the scientific literature about the COVID19 vaccine in pregnancy and share the national perspective that the experience and evidence we have strongly supports the recommendation that all pregnant women should get the COVID19 vaccine to protect themselves and their pregnancy from the risks of COVID19 infection during pregnancy.
“It really has become clear this year that pregnant patients should get the COVID19 vaccine not ‘in spite of’ their pregnancy but really ‘because of it,’” says Hardy.
Dr. Powrie is Chief Medical Quality Officer for the Care New England Healthcare System.
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