Saturday, November 27, 2021

“I’m glad I changed my mind and had the Covid vaccine while pregnant”

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The author Claudia Tanner says that women and babies who are harmed by Covid are rare, “someone has to be this statistic”.

My decision to have the Covid vaccination may have meant that I prevented premature labor or even a devastating stillbirth.

I had mixed feelings when the needle went into my arm in July 28th week of pregnancy.

But I was also afraid of making a fateful decision that could leave my precious, long-awaited unborn baby with long-term health consequences.

Most of all, I felt relieved. Delta cases were on the rise and I read terrifying stories about expectant mothers being hospitalized with Covid.

I managed to avoid the virus during my third trimester when it is riskiest for pregnant women. Now my six week old little boy is here and he is healthy and thriving, I feel like I did the right thing.

Whenever I hear about a tragic story of a deceased or seriously ill mother in hospital, I am sad for her and also grateful that I am not.

There’s Ivy-Rose’s death, just nine days old. She and her unvaccinated mother, Katie Leeming, from Blackpool, both contracted the virus.

The 22-year-old was not vaccinated after hearing “horror stories” on pregnancy forums about the effects of the vaccine on expectant mothers and said she had no regrets about not having the vaccine.

She said a woman had the sting and her baby was stillborn a week later – unfortunately, misinformation on the internet affected people.

I also heard from a friend of a friend who was vaccinated again and was in a coma at my local hospital at the age of 42 while her baby was born by caesarean section.

It’s an incredibly difficult decision to make for a mother-to-be.

Health experts urge pregnant women to get vaccinated after new figures show more than 1,700 pregnant women have been hospitalized with Covid and 98 percent are not vaccinated.

In the United States, around 160,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated against the coronavirus and no safety concerns have been identified. A September study even found that expectant mothers who were vaccinated passed protective antibodies on to their newborns.

Still, it’s not difficult to understand the hesitation. After all, many of those who are not sure are not irrational anti-vaxxers. It makes sense for a woman to question whether a new vaccine – for which there are no long-term data yet – is harming her life.

I envision many of the expectant women who would refuse the vaccination schedule in order to have it after their little one is born. I felt like that at first.

That was the case with Saiqa Parveen, an unvaccinated mother aged 37 who died of Covid without meeting her newborn daughter Dua, who was saved by a caesarean section.

We have to make decisions based on currently available data. Given that the long-term risks of the vaccine to the baby are unknown and therefore only theoretical, and the known risks of Covid in pregnancy are very real, I thought vaccination was the most sensible choice.

I knew the chances of me and my baby getting seriously ill with Covid were rare – but there’s this nagging awareness that someone is going to have these statistics.

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