AUSTIN (KXAN) — This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reaffirmed its stance recommending the COVID-19 vaccine for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant.
Health officials said there is no evidence any vaccines cause fertility problems.
“Feels like Christmas Eve, right? Last-minute shopping,” said Joe Deshotel.
“It does,” laughed his partner, Stella Savage, as they stand outside a baby store Wednesday night.
It’s not Christmas, but Joe and Stella are expecting a Valentine’s gift: a baby boy.
“We’re due on Monday, so we’re getting towards the end here,” Stella said.
They’ve been doing everything they can to stay safe from COVID-19, including getting vaccinated and boosted.
“Mostly this whole pregnancy I’ve just been afraid of contracting COVID. Pregnant women are much more likely to have a lot of complications,” said Stella.
She’s right. A new CDC study lead by a Yale doctor found pregnant, symptomatic women are twice as likely to need the ICU and are 70% more likely to die with COVID-19 than symptomatic women who aren’t pregnant.
Dr. Charles Jaynes remembers one instance well, when he admitted a patient into the ICU of the North Austin Medical Center.
“About five days later, she had an emergency C-section at the bedside of the ICU, just before she went on a ventilator. And she died three days after that,” Jaynes said. “I mean, this was a young, vibrant, pregnant woman who, until she got COVID, had an uncomplicated pregnancy and was talking to me, and we were laughing and joking on admission, and she was dead within a week.”
Jaynes, vice president of OB Hospitalist Group, said even though pregnant women are more likely to face severe effects of COVID-19, they’re still some of the most vaccine-hesitant populations, citing data that only about a third are fully vaccinated.
“We see women are much more susceptible from a standpoint of pneumonia and Hypoxia, ICU admission and even death if they’re pregnant or just postpartum,” he said.
All reasons why Stella and Joe have been trying to limit social gatherings.
“It definitely feels like we’ve been at home a lot more than, than we would’ve, particularly in these final months,” Stella said.
“The closer we get to the birth date, the more skeptical we are of going out,” Joe agreed.
Dr. Jaynes said there’s also evidence that a mom’s vaccine can boost her baby’s immunity — another reason Stella took the shots.
“That was something that I was comfortable with, and I was excited to have the opportunity to do, so that he’s receiving all the antibodies that I have, as well,” she said.
The CDC is enrolling women vaccinated during pregnancy in a registry to gather and analyze more data. As they learn more about the effects of vaccination during pregnancy, data will be presented at meetings and in published reports.
You can find more information on how you can participate and whether or not you qualify by clicking here.