I know that I’ve been written a lot about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy and how dangerous COVID-19 is to pregnant women. But it is important that we remind everyone that these COVID-19 vaccines are safe during pregnancy, and two new studies reiterate that.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 vaccination rate amongst pregnant women still lags other groups – 25% of mothers-to-be have gotten one during their pregnancy. Rates are even lower for Latina and Black expectant mothers, at 22% and 15%, respectively, compared with 27% of white and 35% of expectant mothers. Given the dangers of COVID-19 to pregnant women and the developing fetus, these are frightening low numbers.
Let’s take a look at these studies that confirm the safety profile of these COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy.
COVID-19 vaccines safety profile during pregnancy papers
The first study, published on 20 October 2021 in the New England Journal of Medicine, tracked nearly 18,500 pregnant women in Norway, including about 4,500 who had miscarriages. About 5.5% of the women had been vaccinated. Researchers found no link between COVID-19 vaccines and the risk of first-trimester miscarriage, regardless of whether the vaccines were from Moderna, Pfizer, or AstraZeneca.
The key takeaway is that the women with miscarriages were 9% less likely to have been vaccinated, according to the researchers’ analyses.
The second study, published on 21 October 2021 in The Lancet, tracked 107 women who became pregnant while participating in trials of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, Brazil, and South Africa. Of the 107 women, 72 received the vaccine and 35 received the placebo. The two groups were not pre-selected as they became pregnant after entering the clinical trial.
The key finding was that the AstraZeneca vaccine had no effect on the odds of safely carrying the pregnancy to term. They also found no evidence of a difference in fertility between the vaccine and placebo groups.
It is clear that the COVID-19 vaccines have no effect on pregnancy outcomes, especially the risk of miscarriage. In fact, one of the studies showed that the vaccinated group had a much lower risk of miscarriage, but that may be because vaccinated women may have a stronger interest in overall health than unvaccinated.
Furthermore, there is strong evidence that there is a very high risk of first-trimester miscarriage as a result of COVID-19 infection. And the evidence supports a high risk of maternal mortality and morbidity from the infection.
I am trying to make this as clear as I can – the vaccine is extremely safe for pregnant mothers, and the disease is extremely unsafe for those same mothers. The COVID-19 vaccine can protect both the safety of the mother and the developing baby.
Please, I am pleading with pregnant mothers to get the vaccine. The evidence is overwhelming, please get the vaccine.
- Cosma S, Carosso AR, Cusato J, Borella F, Carosso M, Bovetti M, Filippini C, D’Avolio A, Ghisetti V, Di Perri G, Benedetto C. Coronavirus disease 2019 and first-trimester spontaneous abortion: a case-control study of 225 pregnant patients. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2021 Apr;224(4):391.e1-391.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2020.10.005. Epub 2020 Oct 8. PMID: 33039396; PMCID: PMC7543983.
- Hillson K, Clemens SC, Madhi SA, Voysey M, Pollard AJ, Minassian AM; Oxford COVID Vaccine Trial Group. Fertility rates and birth outcomes after ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) vaccination. Lancet. 2021 Oct 21:S0140-6736(21)02282-0. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)02282-0. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34688353; PMCID: PMC8530465.
- Magnus MC, Gjessing HK, Eide HN, Wilcox AJ, Fell DB, Håberg SE. Covid-19 Vaccination during Pregnancy and First-Trimester Miscarriage. N Engl J Med. 2021 Oct 20. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc2114466. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34670062.
- Sacinti KG, Kalafat E, Sukur YE, Koc A. Increased incidence of first-trimester miscarriage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2021 Jun;57(6):1013-1014. doi: 10.1002/uog.23655. PMID: 33880806; PMCID: PMC8251237.