Now that they’re eligible, a doctor in Vancouver is encouraging soon-to-be moms in B.C. to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as she did.
“It was the best decision for me as well as my baby,” 35-year-old Meghan Gilley said.
At six months pregnant, the BC Children’s Hospital emergency room doctor was inoculated with a Pfizer-BioNTech dose among other health-care workers at a Provincial Health Services authority clinic this January.
For her, the proven risk of becoming more ill from COVID-19 because she was pregnant was more worrisome than the potential side effects of a vaccine.
“I had a slightly sore arm after the first shot but didn’t feel unwell,” she said.
She received her second dose the same month her son Henry was to be born.
“My arm was sore after and I was perhaps a little more tired the next day but it’s hard to say if that was just because I was in my third trimester,” Gilley said.
At the end of February, Henry was born at full term.
“He is a very healthy baby,” said his mom.
Increased risk of COVID-19 severity
Emerging data out of Canada shows pregnant women who contract COVID-19 have an increased risk of being hospitalized, admitted to intensive care units and preterm births.
This, something that reproductive infectious diseases specialist Dr. Chelsea Elwood has seen first-hand working at BC Women’s Hospital.
“When we admit them they are facing the same respiratory complications, including shortness of breath and a need for oxygen, as people in their 50s.”
The specialist recommends all Health Canada-approved COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
“There is no known risk of miscarriage or birth defects,” she said.
“I know what’s gotten out on social media is that the vaccine could cause infertility but that is not based on good science.”
If anything, pregnant women could pass COVID-fighting antibodies to the baby in utero or through breastmilk, she said.
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