Pregnant women are concerned about whether to get the COVID vaccine due to lack of data

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Updated Feb 1, 2021 9:04 PM EST

After three months in a Wisconsin hospital battling COVID-19, Kelsey Townsend reunited with her husband and met her 12-week-old daughter, Lucy, for the first time last week.

“They kept me asleep for almost two months so my body could start healing,” Townsend said.

Townsend was near death. At 39 weeks, Lucy was delivered via C-section while Townsend was in a medically induced coma.

“I’m all for vaccines,” she said. “We just need to be careful and go by what experts are telling us.”

But the guidance presents a dilemma for some pregnant women because they were excluded from initial vaccine trials so there’s no safety data available.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say pregnant women should discuss risk factors with their doctors and make a decision themselves.

Still, some expectant mothers are on the fence.

“It’s it’s definitely hard to decipher what you should be doing,” said Charlene McCraney, who is 19 weeks pregnant.

McCraney has decided not to get the shot. “I think the main thing that comes up with moms, it’s long term birth defects,” she said.

Dr. Brenna Hughes said the COVID vaccines do not contain the live virus and are unlikely to affect the fetus. “The vaccine is not thought to be directly delivered to the fetus. It really is geared towards keeping the mom healthy,” said Hughes, who works for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Studies are now underway on how the vaccine could affect mothers and their babies.

After her life-threatening experience Townsend said she would tell pregnant women to be “extremely cautious and careful.” “It almost ended my life,” she said.

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