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TTUHSC doctors attempt to dispel myths regarding Covid-19 vaccine, pregnancy

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Doctors say concerns about pregnancy and fertility are preventing some people from getting their COVID-19 vaccine. Wednesday, it was a pressing topic at a virtual town hall hosted by Texas Tech Health Sciences Center and Texas Tech Health Sciences Center El Paso.

Dr. Sireesha Reddy, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at TTUHSC El Paso, says the data instead points to a greater concern among pregnant women infected with COVID-19.

“It’s fairly clear that symptomatic pregnant women or recently pregnant patient who do get COVID-19 are at increased risk for more severe illness compared to their non-pregnant counterparts,” Dr. Reddy said.

Reddy says the best way to keep mom and baby safe is taking any of the three COVID-19 vaccines. Within the last month, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommended all pregnant and lactating women get the shot. Reddy says there’s no restrictions on when you can get the vaccine during your pregnancy. Dr. Teresa Baker in obstetrics and gynecology at TTUHSC, says it’s a plus for the baby, too.

“They have shown that women who receive the vaccine, they do pass antibodies to their infants, both through the umbilical cord and also through the secretory IGA in their milk. So, there is some immunity that’s being passed to the infants,” Dr. Baker said.

For women who want to become pregnant, Dr. Reddy says there’s no scientific evidence to support the claim that the vaccine causes infertility. She mentioned a recent study from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine that looked at individuals undergoing fertility treatments. When looking at embryo transfer, there was no difference between women who had the COVID-19 virus, the COVID-19 vaccine and the control group.

“Really the body of organization that I look up to, the American College of the OBGYN, has really pretty firmly said that the claims linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility are really quite unfounded,” Dr. Reddy said.

Dr. Glenn Fennelly, chair of pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases specialist at TTUHSC El Paso, says he hears many questions about the vaccine causing infertility in young males.

“It’s what I refer to as a vaccine trope. It’s not true. There’s more harm in propagating that misinformation in terms of potential lives lost. The vaccine is safe in that regard,” Fennelly said.

Dr. Reddy also mentioned findings from the CDC’s health registry, V-Safe, where people can report side effects after they get the vaccine. They looked at maternal and neonatal complications in 146,000 women who completed the report since July of this year. Dr. Reddy says data shows there was not an increase in those complications compared to if they hadn’t got the shot.

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