Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for new and expecting moms?

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – One of the major concerns of taking the COVID-19 vaccines is how it could affect someone who is pregnant or nursing.

For Avera Physician Dr. Catherine Brockmeier, working during the COVID-19 pandemic made it hard to carry on about the day.

“Through some of the worst surges that we saw here in Sioux Falls in South Dakota,” Brockmeier said.

At the same time, she was also carrying her fourth child. She found out she was pregnant April 2020 and then gave birth to her son on November 20th.

Dr. Brockmeier and her newborn son.

“I, fortunately, think I got by without contacting the virus, which is good,” Brockmeier said.

Four weeks later, on December 19, she got the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Dr. Brockmeier says there was concern from new or expecting mothers about taking the vaccine. She says this stems from when it was still in development and they were excluded from tests.

“We do have ways to compare it to other vaccines that we deliver in pregnancy and in breast feeding. The COVID vaccine is not a ‘live virus vaccine’ so it’s thought to be safe to be given in pregnant and breast feeding women just like we do the influenza shot or the whooping cough shot,” Brockmeier said.

She got her second round last Friday. She says the most she felt was a slight headache. Dr. Brockmeier stresses that it’s actually riskier for pregnant women to get COVID itself than the vaccine.

Dr. Brockmeier gets the 2nd round of the Pfizer vaccine.

“If you are to get COVID while you’re pregnant you’re more likely to be hospitalized, you’re more likely to have severe symptoms, you’re more likely to be intubated. So, avoiding COVID in that patient population is particularly important,” Brockmeier said.

She says this is a big reason why they stress pregnant women consider getting the vaccine. There’s also the possibility of developing antibodies and passing them on to their kids.

“The vaccine itself doesn’t get to the baby when you’re breast-feeding but the antibodies that moms make in turn do. And so we’re able to provide some protection to our newborns,” Brockmeier said.

The Brockmeier family.

​Dr. Brockmeier goes on to recommend that expecting women should consult their healthcare providers to see if getting the vaccine would be right for them.


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