Parenting & Pregnancy: Doctors urge pregnant women to get vaccinated

Health experts say it's important that pregnant women protect themselves from both the flu and COVID-19, as they are at risk for more severe symptoms.

Posted: Aug 5, 2021 2:44 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- With flu season approaching, health officials are reminding pregnant women about the importance of a flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine.

As part of KEZI 9 News’ Parenting & Pregnancy segment sponsored by Women’s Care, Anchor Renee McCullough looks at the risks and benefits of vaccines.

“We do recommend the flu vaccine. We sort of forgot about influenza last year,” said Dr. Brant Cooper.

Cooper said we got a pass on the flu last year because so many were wearing masks and social distancing, but this year will likely be different, and he wants to make sure pregnant women are prepared.

“One percent of the regular population is hospitalized every year with influenza, so for 100 people who get influenza, one gets hospitalized, but for pregnant women, it’s about 10%,” Cooper said.

The COVID-19 vaccine is still a big talker for his patients. He said while a lot of his patients have been vaccinated, he continues to have conversations with others who are scared.

“Some have not. I think it’s easy to be fearful when you are pregnant because you don’t want anything to happen to your unborn baby, and there’s a real deep feeling about that,” he said.

Cooper said health officials are much more confident about the safety of the vaccine than just six months ago.

There can be side effects from the vaccine, he said.

“They’re real. Often within 12 to 24 hours, you may feel a little bit achy and need to take some Tylenol perhaps, and sometimes even have a low-grade fever,” Cooper said.

However, the risk of getting COVID-19 is even greater, according to the doctor.

“We’ve unfortunately seen a number of pregnant women who have gotten COVID. Some have been in the hospital. One has been in the hospital for about a month, so you really can get ill. The immune system doesn’t work as hard when you’re pregnant,” Cooper added.

Plus, if you get the vaccine and still get COVID-19, your symptoms likely won’t be as severe.

Just this week, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine put out a message urging pregnant women to get vaccinated.

The groups cited the recent rise in cases and potential risk of severe complications if you get COVID-19. They say based on evidence from thousands of people who have gotten the vaccine while pregnant, it’s safe.

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