There have been numerous medicines and medical devices manufactured in the past that were proven to be harmful for women. One of these cases gave birth to the Paragard lawsuits, which consist of legal claims by women who experienced adverse effects from using the birth control device.
Today, in a pandemic-stricken world, it is no wonder why pregnant and lactating women are among the top concerns for the COVID-19 vaccination.
Before the first rollout of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine in America, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued an advisory encouraging providers to permit pregnant and breastfeeding people who fall in prioritized categories to have a jab from the newly released vaccine.
What the ACOG Advisory Says
The group’s practice advisory says, “In the interest of allowing pregnant individuals who would otherwise be considered a priority population for a vaccine approved for use … (to) make their own decisions regarding their health, ACOG recommends that pregnant individuals should be free to make their own decision in conjunction with their clinical care team.”
In like manner, it also states that “theoretical concerns regarding the safety of vaccinating lactating individuals do not outweigh the potential benefits of receiving the vaccine. There is no need to avoid initiation or discontinue breastfeeding in patients who receive a COVID-19 vaccine.”
ACOG also notes that the Pfizer vaccine is of the mRNA type which does not have the presence of a live virus. This vaccine therefore does not enter the nucleus and will not cause any genetic changes for its pregnant receivers.
The group adds that pregnant patients may also want to consider the COVID-19 situation in their communities and its potential risks to them.
However, the advisory notes that talking to a clinician about getting the vaccine should not be required, nor should pregnancy tests be prerequisites to getting a shot of the vaccine. ACOG also says that pregnant women who refuse to be vaccinated should have their decisions be respected.
The Need for Supporting Data
There is no data yet regarding the safety of the vaccine in pregnant women since they were excluded in the clinical trials held by Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies.
Based on the fact that little to no data on the case is available so far, CDC says pregnant women are at a higher risk of acquiring severe COVID-19 illness which may result in negative pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, if they get infected.
In the group’s practice advisory, ACOG pointed out that there is indeed a lack of data on the vaccine’s safety for pregnant and lactating women and indicated that such people considering to be vaccinated should be provided with that information, as well as easy access to data on the vaccine’s efficacy and safety.