Pregnant and vaccinated: An expecting mother’s decision to get the COVID-19 shot

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – The Department of Health reports that 60 percent of South Dakotans who are eligible have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Doctors are urging the other 40 percent to get that shot in their arm. And that includes pregnant people.

Tara Vangrouw from Harrisburg has a three and half year old daughter at home and another baby on the way. She was hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant, but then she had a conversation with her Ob/Gyn.

“She came and she asked me what my concerns were and, I mean, it’s all what any mom would have — is it going to affect me, but mainly, is it going to affect the baby,” Vangrouw said.

“There’s been a lot of fear around this vaccine and so people really have their guards up and Tara came in to me yesterday and said, ‘you know, I’ve been doing some reading and I really want to talk through this,'” Dr. Kimberlee McKay, clinical vice president of the Ob/Gyn Service Line at Avera Medical Group, said. “So it was a really great opportunity to share some of the new information that’s come out recently.”

Following that conversation, Vangrouw got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“At first you’re like, oh my goodness, what are we getting into,” Vangrouw said. “But when they gave you the shot it’s kind of like you can breathe a little bit and that there’s a light at the end of this long road.”

Dr. Kimberlee McKay says scientists have done a lot of research on this vaccine and the CDC has closely been watching the outcomes it has on pregnant people. The conclusion is that the vaccine is safe.

“For example, the infertility question, they’ve already studied, does the vaccine cause hormone derangement? It does not,” McKay said. “Is it a similar vaccine that can cause problems with the placenta and cause miscarriage? It does not. And certainly, does it alter pregnancy outcomes and harm babies? And it does not.”

“Talk to your doctor,” Vangrouw said. “That’s the best thing I can give you. You have to do what’s best for you and your family but your doctor’s also trying to do best for you and your family. It’s hard enough as a mom, a new mom, do what you can to protect you, your baby and your other children that can’t get the shot yet.”

The CDC says pregnant people are also at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 as compared to non-pregnant people. Dr. McKay says the consequences of catching the virus while pregnant can be dire.

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