Despite pregnant patients not being included in clinical trials for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, experts say that doesn't necessarily mean the shots aren't safe for them.
"The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, which is the organization that represents high-risk pregnancy specialists, have looked at the type of vaccine that it is, have looked at the risk factors that pregnant women face, and, based on expert opinion, have recommended that this not be withheld from pregnant and nursing women," said Dr. Dana Stone, an OB-GYN at Lakeside Doctors Gynecology and Obstetrics in Oklahoma City, at a Tuesday virtual press conference hosted by the Healthier Oklahoma Coalition.
"There are good studies that show that pregnant women are at higher risk of hospitalization and death from coronavirus than non-pregnant individuals, so the recommendation is that the woman have a discussion with her provider about her risks and be offered the vaccine if she feels like she would like to have it," Stone said.
Evidence about safety and effectiveness is reassuring from studies that inadvertently included some women who didn’t know they were pregnant when they enrolled.
More answers are expected from upcoming research, including a study by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech expected to start early this year that will include pregnant women.
Experts say there’s no reason to think the two authorized vaccines would harm fetuses. They might even protect them from developing COVID-19, although that hasn’t yet been proven, said Dr. Denise Jamieson, chair of gynecology and obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine.
Kaiser Health News reports Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease specialist, said data show "no red flags" from pregnant women who have received the vaccines so far.