August. Jan. 11, 2022 — Pregnant women should be confident that Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines are safe, according to a large new study published today.
In fact, vaccinated pregnant women had lower odds compared with unvaccinated women after two doses of the mRNA vaccine, researchers report in The Lancet Infectious Diseases A major health event was reported in the journal.
This study, completed by the National Vaccine Safety Network of Canada, looked at patients in seven Canadian provinces and territories between December 2020 and November 2021 data.
All vaccinated individuals in the study were asked to report any health events within one week of each COVID-19 vaccination. A control group of unvaccinated pregnant women was asked to record any health problems within 7 days before completing the survey.
In total, 191,360 women aged 15-49 completed the first-dose survey and 94,937 completed the second-dose survey.
Manish Sadarangani from the British Columbia Children’s Hospital Research Institute in Vancouver led the study, one of the first to compare vaccine side effects. Three groups: vaccinated pregnant women, unvaccinated pregnant women, and vaccinated non-pregnant women.
The study authors noted that with The pandemic has disproportionately affected pregnant women, who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, compared to non-pregnant women of the same age group.
The researchers found that 4% of pregnant women who received the mRNA vaccine reported the same dose within a week after the first dose and 7.3% after the second dose. The most common major health events following the second dose were general malaise, headache/migraine, and respiratory infection.
For unvaccinated pregnant women, 3.2% reported a similar event in the previous week to participate in the survey.
In the non-pregnant but vaccinated control group, 6.3% reported 11.3% of major health events occurred after the first dose and after the second dose. Serious health events were rare (less than 1%) in all groups and occurred at similar rates in all three groups.
Miscarriage/stillbirth rates did not differ significantly between groups.
Investigators define a “major health event” as a health event sufficient to cause Patient missed school or work in the previous week, required medical advice, and/or prevented daily activities. A “serious health event” was defined as one that resulted in an emergency department visit and/or hospitalization in the preceding week.
Dr. Sascha Ellington and Christine Olson, MD, from the CDC, who were not involved in the study, wrote in a related editorial that the findings are consistent with growing evidence that The COVID-19 mRNA vaccine is safe during pregnancy.
Even with good science, it’s hard to be convincing
Diana Gilman, MD, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Olmsted Medical Center in Rochester, MN of persistent, unfounded concerns that even these results may not convince all pregnant women to get vaccinated.
“Unfortunately, while this study confirms what we know about the COVID vaccine in pregnancy – that it is safe and effective in preventing life-threatening illnesses that can occur in mothers and babies – — but many patients in the U.S. are still being treated during pregnancy due to unfounded fears of fetal harm,” she said.
“Patients usually take their healthcare provider’s advice for everything else during pregnancy, including in this country, at 28 The Tdap vaccine, which protects babies from infantile pertussis by evoking maternal antibodies that are passed to the fetus in the womb, resists this potentially life-saving possibility”
Gillman said data to convince parents that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe may now need to come from psychology and sociology experts who can pinpoint why patients resist and what strategies will work.
“ Scientifically,” she said, “ We’ve got it covered.”