The FDA approved the emergency use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine on December 11th for people 16 years and older but the approval did not outright exclude pregnant and lactating people.
The news comes during a surge of COVID-19 cases and the CDC estimates the United States will have over 330,000 deaths by January 2021. Hopefully, the COVID vaccine will take front and center stage to combat these staggering numbers.
The vaccine distribution will be determined by risk assessment and experts recommend that healthcare workers and residents and workers of nursing homes will be the first the receive the COVID vaccine.
But for pregnant people and the parents of young children, many outstanding questions linger.
Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that COVID vaccine testing for pregnant people and children could begin in January of 2021.
Dr. Fauci states that the study’s primary objective will be to ensure that the COVID vaccines is safe in these populations.
And while many are waiting for the studies to begin, there are many scientists and providers who believe that the risk of the COVID virus is worse than the risk of the vaccine, as untested as it may be.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) states that “Women who are pregnant and/or lactating should not be excluded from what are identified as high priority populations for the COVID-19 vaccine allocation strategy.”
Dr. Doran Fink, the FDA’s deputy director for vaccine development, told the New York Times that “we really have no data to speak to risks specific to the pregnant women or the fetus, but also no data that would warrant a contraindication to use in pregnancy at this time.”
If you are pregnant, be sure to talk to your provider. As new information, becomes available, your provider can help you determine what is the best course of action for you.
The FDA approval does explicitly exclude children under the age of 16 but thankfully, younger children may begin to be tested next month.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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