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CDC recommends pregnant people get COVID-19 vaccine

Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyUS reaching turning point in pandemic amid vaccination concerns Watch live: Fauci, Walensky testify on COVID-19 response efforts Top CDC official who warned of pandemic disruption will resign MORE, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, said for the first time on Friday that the agency recommends pregnant people get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Walensky pointed to the study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday that found the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines appear to be safe for pregnant women, according to preliminary vaccine data. 

“Importantly, no safety concerns were observed for people vaccinated in the third trimester or safety concerns for their babies,” she said. “As such the CDC recommends that pregnant people receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”

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“We know that this is a deeply personal decision, and I encourage people to talk to their doctors and their primary care providers to determine what is best for them and for their baby,” she continued. 

Before this study, the CDC and other health officials and experts advised that the COVID-19 vaccine be available to pregnant women for them to discuss whether to get it with their doctor. 

The agency previously did not recommend pregnant people get the vaccine due to the “limited data on the safety” of the shot as pregnant women were not included in the clinical trials, Walensky said. 

For the study, CDC researchers examined data from the first 11 weeks of the U.S.’s vaccination rollout. At the time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were granted emergency authorization. 

The research found pregnant women experienced the same side effects as non-pregnant people, reporting injection site pain more frequently and headaches, chills and fever less often. 

The scientists utilized data from more than 35,000 women who reported getting one of the shots during or shortly before their pregnancy between Dec. 14 and Feb. 28 on the CDC’s safety monitoring system V-safe.

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Those who reported being pregnant on V-safe were invited to be included in the V-safe pregnancy registry, which collected more specific information, including how the completion of pregnancy went for 827 women. 

A total of 86 percent of pregnancies resulted in a live birth, while the rates of miscarriage and prematurity aligned with the unvaccinated population.

Pregnant women face higher risks of getting seriously sick or dying from COVID-19 than non-pregnant women with symptoms.