Covid vaccines do NOT increase the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women, two new studies find

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COVID-19 vaccines do not increase the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women, two new studies find.

In one study, a team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at data from the agency’s smartphone tool V-SAFE, which tracks people who received Covid shots.

In the other study, a separate team looked at different data from the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink.

Both sets of researchers arrived at the same conclusion: women who suffered miscarriages were not more likely to have received a COVID-19 vaccine than women who were still pregnant.

Doctors hope the findings can help convince pregnant women, who are at a greater risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19, to get vaccinated. 

Two new studies found that women who suffered miscarriages were not more likely to have received a COVID-19 vaccine than women who were still pregnant. Pictured: A pregnant woman waits in a food pantry line at S. Mary's Church in Waltham, Massachusetts, May 2020

Two new studies found that women who suffered miscarriages were not more likely to have received a COVID-19 vaccine than women who were still pregnant. Pictured: A pregnant woman waits in a food pantry line at S. Mary’s Church in Waltham, Massachusetts, May 2020

Pregnant women are at increased risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 compared to the general population but just 24.8% (light blue line) have gotten at least one vaccine dose

Pregnant women are at increased risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 compared to the general population but just 24.8% (light blue line) have gotten at least one vaccine dose

As of Wednesday, only 24.8 percent of pregnant people have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to CDC data.

This is despite several studies finding that expecting mothers are more vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19 or death than the general population. 

One study last month from the University of California, Irvine Medical Center found that women undergoing childbirth while infected with COVID-19 were 5.7 times more likely to end up in intensive care units at 5.2 percent compared to 0.9 percent of women without Covid

Additionally, about 0.1 percent of mothers with the virus died in comparison with 0.01 percent of those who weren’t infected, a 10-fold difference.

For the first new study, published on pre-print server Research Square, a team from the CDC analyzed data from V-SAFE. 

The tool uses text messages and web surveys so the people who received the immunization can report any symptoms or side effects they are experiencing. 

Researchers looked at 2,456 pregnant women who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna Covid vaccine prior to 20 weeks’ gestation as of July 19, 2021.

Next, they looked at the risk of miscarriage, also described in the study as a ‘spontaneous abortion.’

Miscarriages occur between 11 percent and 16 percent of pregnancies and the study found that the miscarriage rate in women who received the COVID-19 vaccine is 12.8 percent, within the normal range.

When broken down by age, miscarriages ranged from 9.8 percent among 20-to-29-year-olds to 28.8 percent in those aged 40 and older.

This is also in line with data, which find that women are at a higher risk for a miscarriage when they conceive at age 35 or older.

‘These findings add to accumulating evidence that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy are safe,’ the CDC team wrote.  

In the second new study, published in JAMA, a team from HealthPartners, a healthcare provider based in Bloomington, Minnesota, looked at data from the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink.

The Vaccine Safety Datalink is a collaborative project between CDC’s Immunization Safety Office and nine health care organization studying the adverse effects of vaccines.

Researchers analyzed data of 105,000 patients who were early in their pregnancies between December 15, 2020 and June 28, 2021.

Among the women, 14.3 percent received at least one dose of the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

They looked at women between six weeks’ and 19 week’s gestation and identified the ‘index date’ as the last day of the four-week surveillance period. 

The team found that women had received a COVID-19 vaccine 28 days before the index date in eight percent of ongoing pregnancies and 8.6 percent of miscarriages.

This means women who suffered miscarriages did not have higher odds of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine in the previous 28 days compared to women who did not suffer miscarriages.  

‘Our data adds to a growing body of research that should give pregnant people confidence to get vaccinated against COVID-19, if they haven’t already,’ lead author Dr Elyse Kharbanda, a senior investigator at HealthPartners Institute, told The Star Tribune

‘It’s especially important for pregnant people to protect themselves against the virus because COVID-19 infections may impact them more severely and lead to birth complications.’ 

The findings come about one month after the CDC urged pregnant women receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they can.

Previously, the agency said expectant mothers were eligible for the vaccine but did not fully recommended that they receive it due to uncertainties over potential long-term effects.

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