Whitman-Walker Health’s mobile HIV/STI testing van parked during a community outreach event (Courtesy of Whitman-Walker Health)
Whitman-Walker Health’s mobile HIV/STI testing van parked during a community outreach event (Courtesy of Whitman-Walker Health)

Many expecting, trying or recently pregnant people are understandably fearful about how the COVID-19 vaccine might impact their fertility or ability to get pregnant. However, research shows that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine are stronger than any known or potential risks of being vaccinated while pregnant.

When a person gets pregnant, the experience takes a toll on their body and they lose some of the capacity of their lungs. So as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic — a public health threat that greatly impacts the respiratory system and lungs — COVID-19 vaccines can be life-saving for folks who are exploring pregnancy.

What else is the research saying?

While clinical research and evidence on the safety and effectiveness of getting a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant is growing, in these early stages, findings still suggest that people who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, have future plans to get pregnant, or who are currently breastfeeding, should get vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to the CDC, people who are pregnant or recently pregnant are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 – when compared to people who are not pregnant. In addition, people who have COVID-19 during pregnancy are at increased risk of preterm birth and stillbirth. They also might be at increased risk of other pregnancy complications. So it is even more important that folks experiencing pregnancy, looking to get pregnant, or who are recently pregnant, get vaccinated.

Whitman-Walker Health’s Max Robinson Center in historic Anacostia in southeast D.C. (Courtesy of Whitman-Walker Health)

The CDC shares these helpful facts to know about pregnancy, COVID-19 and getting a COVID-19 vaccine:

– COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.

– People who are pregnant may receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.

– There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.

– COVID-19 vaccines do not cause COVID-19 infection, including in people who are pregnant or their babies.

Schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment

When you are ready, visit vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233 to find a COVID-19 vaccine site near you. Remember: the COVID-19 vaccine has not been shown to harm pregnant people and that healthy babies have been delivered by vaccinated people throughout the pandemic.

If you have questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, Whitman-Walker Health is here to help! If we do not have an answer to your vaccine question, we will help you get it! Call Whitman-Walker Health with your questions at 202-207-2480. You can also contact MotherToBaby! They have experts available to answer questions about pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccine in English or Spanish. This free and confidential service is available Monday–Friday, from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. (local time). Contact MotherToBaby by calling 1-866-626-6847, or via email or live chat at www.mothertobaby.org/ask-an-expert.

Whitman-Walker Health is here to help and we’re just one phone call away! We hope you’ll give us a call. Talk to your health care provider about getting a booster or third dose and whether you are eligible. To access HIV/STI testing or to get your COVID-19 vaccine, booster or third dose at Max Robinson Center, or another Whitman-Walker location, call 202.797.4439.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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