TAMPA, Fla. — The CDC is strengthening its recommendation and encouraging all pregnant women to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19. Tampa Bay area doctors and soon-to-be moms explained how they made their decision to get the COVID vaccine while pregnant during the ongoing health crisis.
Tiffany Jones found out she was pregnant in February. She admits at first, she didn’t plan to get vaccinated until after she had her baby.
“Well the last few weeks, even months, what happened is the Delta variant started spreading throughout Tampa Bay really, really bad,” said Jones. “I kept hearing stories about pregnant women on ventilators having C-sections, giving birth to premature babies, moms maybe not making it.”
After consulting with doctors, Jones explained ultimately for her, the pros outweighed the cons.
“I figured I’d wait until after, almost to my third trimester, and then I went ahead and got vaccinated, and it was the hardest decision I ever made,” said Jones.
Her decision comes as the CDC released new data on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people.
“CDC encourages all pregnant people or people who are thinking about becoming pregnant and those breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “The vaccines are safe and effective, and it has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible Delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people.”
A new CDC analysis of current data from the v-safe pregnancy registry assessed vaccination early in pregnancy and did not find an increased risk of miscarriage among nearly 2,500 pregnant women who got an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
According to the CDC, miscarriage typically occurs in about 11 to 16 percent of pregnancies and says the study found miscarriage rates after getting a COVID-19 vaccine were around 13 percent, similar to the expected rate of miscarriage in the general population. The CDC also says previously, data from three safety monitoring systems did not find any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated late in pregnancy or for their babies.
“I have seen some pregnant women get very sick with COVID, and studies do show that pregnant women are about three times more likely to need to be admitted to the ICU and have intensive care than someone who’s not pregnant,” said Dr. Sarah Miller with Women’s Care Florida. “And if you’re not breathing, you’re not getting oxygen, neither is your baby.”
Dr. Miller needed to weigh the risks for herself, as the vaccine was rolling out earlier this year with her own baby on the way.
“I talked with experts, people I trust, looked at the ingredients, read about the vaccine, and felt very comfortable receiving it for myself and for my baby, who is now four months old and healthy as can be,” said Miller.
While Jones waits for her new arrival, she explains the risk of her or her baby getting sick wasn’t one she was willing to take.
“For me, it was far worse of possibly never meeting my baby than what could happen if I got the vaccine,” said Jones.