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Pregnant women don’t experience more severe symptoms from COVID-19 vaccines, study finds

Researchers say reactions to the vaccine were similar between pregnant and non-pregnant women

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COVID-19 vaccinations have been a hot-button issue around the globe. Health officials have largely advocated for widespread vaccinations to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and the emergence of the Delta variant, but many anti-vaxxers simply refuse to be inoculated due to safety concerns. 

Many pregnant women, for example, have opted not to get vaccinated because they fear that they’ll have a much worse reaction to the shot. However, a recent survey suggests that those concerns may be off-base. A team from UW Medicine recently found that pregnant women did not have reactions to COVID-19 vaccines that were “beyond what is expected from a vaccine.”

“Pregnant people do well with the vaccine,” said lead author Dr. Alisa Kachikis. 

Evidence of safety

The researchers surveyed over 17,000 pregnant and lactating consumers who received a COVID-19 vaccine. They were asked to describe their reactions to the shot, including any side effects they experienced after the first dose.

The most common effects from the vaccination included pain at the injection site, fatigue, and a slight temperature that averaged 100 degrees Fahrenheit. A very small percentage (between 5% and 7%) also reported a decrease in milk supply. Based on the responses, the researchers say their findings support the idea that COVID-19 vaccines are not dangerous to pregnant women.

"We hope that this data will be another reassuring piece of information ... about why pregnant individuals need to get vaccinated against COVID-19," said senior author Dr. Linda Eckert. "Not only is the vaccine safe, our research shows just how well the vaccine is tolerated in pregnant individuals -- which is a common fear I hear from my patients. In contrast, we are continuing to learn more and more about just how dangerous COVID-19 infections are in pregnancy."

The full study has been published in JAMA Network Open.

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