COVID-19 Vaccine: Questions and answers for practicing ob/gyns and their patients

January 18, 2021
Angie DeRosa

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Emily Adhikari, MD
Emily Adhikari, MD

Medical director of Perinatal Infectious Diseases, Parkland Hospital, and assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

In this video, Senior Editor Angie DeRosa interviews Emily Adhikari, MD, on questions or concerns she and colleagues are hearing from patients surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine.

As with other vaccine trials, pregnant women were not included in the trials for the two vaccines that have been approved for COVID-19.

“I suspect follow-up studies will involve the surveillance of side effects from the CDC Vsafe program as well as other studies (including our own group) who look to evaluate pregnancies in women who received the vaccine,” she said. “I suspect there will not be large clinical trials now that the vaccines are made available to pregnant women but there will be follow-up studies of antibody titers, etc., in pregnancy/lactation following vaccination. (It) might be hard to do a placebo-controlled trial at this point.”

As the United States rolls out its program to vaccinate the population, myths persist for the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for pregnant and lactating women, including the notion that the vaccine can cause infertility or the belief that Bell’s palsy can be a side effect.

Adhikari answered frequently asked questions in this FAQ, which also will appear in the February print issue of Contemporary OB/GYN® as a tear-out for easy reference.

She elaborates on the points included in that FAQ in this video interview.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) last updated its practice advisory on Dec. 21 for “Vaccinating Pregnant and Lactating Patients Against COVID-19,” the link for which can be found here. In that advisory, ACOG recommended that vaccines not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet the criteria for vaccination based on the priority groups established by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).