LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Las Vegas doctor who specializes in high-risk pregnancies continues to urge his patients and other pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention formally recommended the move at a White House meeting Friday.
The recommendation comes after new safety data shows similar side effects in pregnant women as with other people who had received the vaccine.
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Additionally, there are no safety concerns for women getting vaccinated in their third trimesters, nor for their babies.
"The problem is, when people are pregnant, they're more immunocompromised, so they don't fight infections as well," explained Dr. Joseph Adashek, co-owner of Desert Perinatal Associates.
"So getting COVID during pregnancy, you're much more likely to have intensive care admission, much more likely to be intubated on a ventilator and 13 times more likely to die of COVID when you're pregnant," he said.
Dr. Adashek has been recommending that his patients receive the vaccine since both Pfizer and Moderna were approved for emergency use authorization in December 2020.
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The announcement on Friday further solidifies his recommendation, he said.
The CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, says the CDC recommends pregnant women receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“No safety concerns were observed for people vaccinated in the third trimester or safety concerns for their babies. As such, CDC recommends pregnant people receive the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Walensky on Friday.
Initial clinical trials did not include pregnant women which led to questions and concerns from women regarding the vaccines.
"It is hard to do studies on pregnant women, especially prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials in pregnant women, because first of all, it's hard to recruit pregnant women to be in those vaccine trials," explained Dr. Adashek.
Like other vaccines, such as influenza, the mother's body creates the antibodies in response to the vaccine shot which is then transferred through the placenta to the baby, explained Dr. Adashek.
"It's called passive immunization," added Dr. Adashek.
Adashek says the protection carries on after birth for an unknown period of time.
"Basically, a lot of my life as a high-risk pregnancy doctor is trying to debunk things that people may have heard from other people," explained Dr. Adashek.
Adashek says COVID presents a much greater risk for pregnant women who do not get the shot, especially in the third trimester.
"We had, unfortunately, quite a few pregnant women catch COVID and became very, very sick and had to be put on a respirator, had to take the baby out three months early, in some cases we had to do the cesarean section in the intensive care unit," explained Dr. Adashek.
Dr. Adashek says here are some Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:
- When should pregnant women get the vaccine?
- As soon as it is available to you
- If given the choice, which brand vaccine should a pregnant woman get?
- Either Pfizer or Moderna.
- What are the risks of not getting a COVID vaccine
- COVID has shown to cause higher rates of stillbirth, death, birth defects, and other complications for both mother and baby.
13 Investigates also asked Dr. Adashek about reports that some women reported their menstrual cycles were impacted after receiving a vaccine.
He says there is no medical data to support the vaccine impacts a woman's menstrual cycle.