Alabama health officials recommend pregnant women get COVID vaccine

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 9:23 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - The state has struggled with vaccine hesitancy from Alabamians and circulating misinformation around the vaccine is not helping, especially when it comes to women and pregnancy.

The American College of OBGYN and the Society for Maternal Fetal medicine strongly recommend pregnant women to receive the COVID vaccine.

Alabama health officials are working to set the record straight when it comes to the misinformation out there when it comes to the vaccine and women. With the rise in COVID cases and hospitalizations in the state.

“The hospitalized patients in Alabama beds today with COVID are people who are not vaccinated and probably most if those people wouldn’t have to be there if we could have only reached them sooner and gotten them vaccinated sooner,” Dr. Scott Harris, State Health Officer, said.

Some of these hospitalizations include pregnant women.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase over the past couple of weeks of hospitalized pregnant women for severe illness or for moderate to severe illness,” Dr. Mimi Munn, a maternal-fetal physician/Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at USA Health, said.

To avoid a continued increase in hospitalizations, Dr. Munn agrees with the governing bodies that look at these issues and recommends pregnant women to get the vaccine.

“Data is accumulating everyday on the COVID vaccine and pregnancy and so far everything looks very reassuring,” Dr. Munn said.

Pregnant women were not included in the COVID vaccine trials, but Dr. Munn reassures those who are in question by saying there were about 40 women who became pregnant throughout the trial.

“There did not seem to be an increase risk for miscarriage in that group,” Dr. Munn said.

When it comes to studies of new mothers and breast feeding who received the vaccine, the MRNA was not found in breast milk that would affect the child, according to Dr. Munn.

“The good news is, there does appear to be antibody in breast milk and we all know that antibodies we want that in breast milk and that’s one of the benefits of breastfeeding,” Dr. Munn said. “So, that is actually very exciting that the antibody is transferred to breastmilk.”

Dr. Munn sites a study for the New England journal of Medicine, sharing that about 800 pregnancies of women that were vaccinated, there appeared to be no increase risk for any adverse outcomes with pregnancies’ or babies and no miscarriage’s.

However, for the unvaccinated, Dr. Munn said for pregnant women the virus can result in worse outcomes compared to nonpregnant counterparts. She said women have a higher risk in getting sicker, more likely to be admitted into the IC and intubated. She is concerned for the pregnant population as the fight against this virus continues.

“We hadn’t seen this in Mobile before, but we are seeing an increasing number in young women who seem to be sicker than they were than our previous bumps in numbers,” Dr. Munn said.

Dr. Scott Harris also shares his concern about the weeks ahead for the state of Alabama.

“If we get to the numbers we had back in January, I don’t know that our hospitals system can easily handle more than that,” Dr. Harris said. “That becomes an issue of you don’t physically have the space to put people, and you don’t have the staff to take care of those people.”

Copyright 2021 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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