It is one of the questions that thousands of pregnant women are asking themselves exactly at this moment: should I get vaccinated against covid? Will it protect or have consequences for my baby?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), until the results of clinical trials and additional studies are available, only limited data are available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines. MRNA, administered during pregnancy.
In summary, the CDC says that:
- Limited data are currently available from animal development and reproductive toxicity studies;
- No safety concerns arose in rats that received Moderna’s covid vaccine before or during pregnancy;
- Studies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are ongoing;
- More studies focused on pregnant women are planned;
- Both vaccine manufacturers are monitoring participants in clinical trials of covid vaccines who became pregnant.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have safety monitoring systems in place to record information about vaccination during pregnancy and are closely monitoring these cases.
It is important to know that mRNA vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes covid-19 and therefore cannot transmit the virus.
Also, mRNA vaccines do not interact with a person’s DNA because the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell. Cells break down mRNA quickly.
Based on how mRNA vaccines work, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a specific risk to pregnant women.
The American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine of the United States agree with the CDC that vaccines using mRNA should be offered to pregnant women who are eligible for vaccination.
The World Health Organization (OM), however, does not recommend the use of these vaccines in pregnant women unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk of the vaccine.
Other important issues to consider:
- Pregnant women who contract COVID-19 are at higher risk of developing a severe form of the disease, complications, and dying from the infection than non-pregnant women.
- Although it is not known whether there are real risks from mRNA vaccines to the pregnant woman and fetus, because these vaccines have not been studied in pregnant women, there are no safety concerns.
- But more information is needed, which will be available in weeks or months.
It is very important that you discuss this option with your GP and your obstetrician. They will know how to help you make the best decision for you and your baby.
List and status of covid vaccines
The following is a list of vaccines that are already on the market, those that will be soon, and others for which trials are advanced.
Pfizer and BioNTech
Trial status. There are still ongoing trials with more than 44,000 participants in the United States, Brazil, Argentina, and Germany.
How it works. The vaccine uses genetic material known as RNA and generates a strong immune response in the body: it protects 95% from developing the covid infection. If the person gets sick, they will likely have a mild form of the disease.
Approval status. It is already approved for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Required dose. Two
Supply. The companies, Pfizer of the United States and BioNTech of Germany, say they will produce $ 1 billion by the end of 2021.
Trial status. There are still ongoing trials in phase 3 of the research, with more than 40,000 participants in the United States and Europe.
How it works. The vaccine uses genetic material known as RNA to inject into cells a protein found in coronaviruses, which stimulates the production of antibodies in the body.
The pharmacist reported that the vaccine is effective in 94.5% of cases.
Approval status. It has already received approval for emergency use from the FDA.
Required dose. Two, with a difference of 28 days.
Supply. Moderna has said it would produce between 500 million and 1 billion by the end of 2021.
Johnson & Johnson
Trial status. He is in phase 3 of the investigation, after an impass due to the unexpected illness of a participant. It has 60,000 volunteers in 28 US states, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Ukraine. The drugmaker is planning a second trial with 30,000 volunteers in Europe, South Africa, the Philippines and Florida, in the United States, to test two doses of the vaccine.
How it works. The vaccine uses an inactivated version of the common cold virus to transport genetic material into cells, which prompts the body to produce a coronavirus protein that would trigger an immune response. Unlike the previous two, it uses DNA, not RNA. Its results released on January 29 indicate that it generates a 72% protection for the strains that circulate mainly in the United States, 66% protection for Latin America and other regions, but only 54% for the dominant strain in South Africa
Approval status. You have already applied for FDA approval for emergency use.
Required dose. One dose (although the company says it will begin a trial to test a two-dose vaccine).
Supply. Johnson & Johnson has agreed to sell 300 million doses in the United States, and 200 million in the European Union. It has also promised to target 500 million doses to developing countries, by mid-2021.
AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford
Trial status. He is in phase 3 of the investigation after an impass caused by a volunteer who presented unexplained neurological symptoms. He performs trials in the United States, South Africa, Brazil, Chile, and Peru. 23,000 participants were recruited.
How it works. The vaccine uses a weakened version of the virus that causes the common cold combined with components of the coronavirus. In the first two phases of the research, it showed that the body generates a strong immune response and produces antibodies.
The drugmaker reported on Thanksgiving week that its vaccine showed an average efficacy of 70% in a two-dose regimen, and 90% effective in one dose. This difference in percentages is not yet clear. This vaccine is a potential candidate for distribution in Latin American countries.
Approval status. As of mid-February, it is still unclear when it would be approved in the United States. It is already being implemented in the UK.
Required dose. Two
Supply. AstraZeneca has said it could deliver up to 2 billion doses of the vaccine. The United States, Japan and Australia, among other countries, have already signed agreements with the company to have doses of this vaccine.
Trial status. It is in phase 3 of the investigation, and has already received approval for emergency use in China.
How it works. The vaccine uses a purified and inactive form of the coronavirus combined with a component of another vaccine used for hepatitis B. It has managed to generate antibodies and have special potency in people over 60 years of age.
Approval status. Still not known.
Required dose. Two
Supply. The company has said it has the capacity to produce an initial batch of 100 million doses.
CanSino Biologics and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology
Trial status. It is in phase 3 of the investigation, with trials in Pakistan and several countries in Latin America. This vaccine has the authorization of the Chinese Army.
How it works. It is a modified form of an earlier vaccine, which had been developed against Ebola. It uses an inactivated version of the coronavirus together with genetic material from the common cold, to generate an immune response from the body.
Approval status. The alliance has not said when further results will be known.
Required dose. Two
Supply. The alliance has not said its production capacity of this vaccine, but the Russian pharmaceutical company Petrovax has announced that it can manufacture up to 4 million doses of the vaccine per month in 2020 and up to 10 million doses per month during 2021.
Trial status. This vaccine already approved in Russia is in phase 3 of research, with 40,000 participants.
How it works. The vaccine is a combination of two adenovirus vectors. In an analysis published in The Lancet magazine, carried out with 76 participants, it showed an immune response.
Approval status. There is no information yet on a definitive analysis. But countries like Mexico and Argentina expressed their interest in receiving it.
Required dose. Two
Supply. The Russian government has said that it already has agreements with different countries, to generate a production of 500 million doses.
Sources: CDC, WHO, American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Harvard Medicine, Hopkins Medicine.