(BPT) - COVID-19 is still here this fall and presents a higher risk of severe illness and complications that can affect you and your developing baby. Severe illness can result in admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) and needing a ventilator to breathe. CDC Foundation, with our partner MarketVision, developed the CDC-supported Pregnant & Protected campaign, recognizing the unique needs and importance of COVID-19 vaccination among women planning to get pregnant, currently pregnant or breastfeeding.
The good news is that an updated COVID-19 vaccine became available in September, and all individuals ages 6 months and up, including women planning to get pregnant, currently pregnant or breastfeeding, are eligible to receive it. These vaccines are updated to better protect you from current COVID-19 variants and work the same way as the previous COVID-19 vaccines. You can get the updated COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other recommended vaccines, like the flu, Tdap and RSV vaccines. To make your decision about the COVID-19 vaccine, you need to know that what you put in your body is safe for you and your baby. Rest assured that scientific studies including hundreds of thousands of women around the world have shown that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 before, during or after pregnancy is safe for you and your baby. Plus, the antibodies your body makes in response to COVID-19 vaccines can help protect your baby in their early months of life.
To help you make your choice, the Pregnant & Protected campaign features pregnant women sharing their personal journeys about gaining confidence in getting up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Veronica initially struggled with the decision to get a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant, telling her doctor, “I’m scared.” However, after her doctor told her that pregnant women who are not vaccinated can become very sick with COVID-19, Veronica made the choice to get the vaccine while pregnant. Although she did end up getting COVID-19 during her pregnancy, Veronica shared, “It felt like I had a really bad cold ... If I had not had the COVID-19 vaccine, I could have potentially been hospitalized, and that was not a risk I was willing to take. I made the decision that this is what I wanted to do to protect my baby.”
Dr. Hux, an OB-GYN who was pregnant during the pandemic, shared, “My patients had so much worry and stress and uncertainty ... I could relate to all the emotions and stresses that they were feeling. After I got the vaccine, I would say the biggest feeling was relief. I would not recommend something for you that I would not get for myself.”
To hear more from pregnant women and get the information you need about COVID-19 vaccines, visit PregnantandProtected.org, and talk to your provider about getting the updated COVID-19 vaccine.