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Feb. 2, 2021 -- Speaking to an International AIDS Society meeting, Anthony Fauci, MD, says research so far shows pregnant women can safely receive the coronavirus vaccine.

Fauci addressed the IAS COVID-19 Conference, Monday, saying about 100,000 pregnant women in the United States have been vaccinated and none has shown serious side effects.

“We had a lot of pregnant women vaccinated,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “The FDA followed them and will continue to follow them. Even though we don’t have good data on it, the data that we’re collecting on it so far has no red flags.”

An ongoing question during the pandemic is whether pregnant women or nursing moms should be given the vaccine. Women who are pregnant may be at greater risk of severe COVID-19, even though the absolute risk of severe illness is low, studies show.

Pregnant women were not part of the clinical trials for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. However, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine say pregnant women and nursing moms should take the vaccine if they want it.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA to stimulate the immune system and do not contain a live virus that could make a person sick.

“People who are pregnant and part of a group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine may choose to be vaccinated. If they have questions about getting vaccinated, a discussion with a healthcare provider might help them make an informed decision,” the CDC says.The CDC says there’s no certainty, however.

“Until findings are available from clinical trials and additional studies, only limited data are available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, including mRNA vaccines, administered during pregnancy,” the CDC said.

The World Health Organization recently issued “interim recommendations” on whether pregnant women should take the Moderna vaccine.

“While pregnancy puts women at higher risk of severe COVID-19, very little data are available to assess vaccine safety in pregnancy,” the WHO said.

“Nevertheless, based on what we know about this kind of vaccine, we don’t have any specific reason to believe there will be specific risks that would outweigh the benefits of vaccination for pregnant women.

“For this reason, those pregnant women at high risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (e.g. health workers) or who have comorbidities which add to their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated in consultation with their health care provider.”

Show Sources

IAS COVID-19 Conference website

CDC. “Vaccination Considerations for People who are Pregnant or Breastfeeding”

WHO. “The Moderna COVID-19 (mRNA-1273) vaccine: what you need to know”

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