Local health experts reiterate safety of COVID vaccines

COVID vaccines are also safe for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant

The COVID vaccines are too new. They were developed too quickly. They weren’t tested enough.

These are common reasons why some people are leery of the vaccines.

But Edward-Elmhurst Health stressed the vaccines’ safety in recent news releases.

And Dr. Xavier Pombar, medical director of maternal-fetal medicine at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, urged all women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Let’s examine some of those objections.

The mRNA technology is too new

Actually, scientists have studied mRNA technology for decades and have used it to “teach the immune system to target certain cancer cells,” according to Edward-Elmhurst Health.

The vaccines themselves were developed too quickly

In a March 25, 2020, Herald-News story, Stephen J. Ubl, president and CEO of PhRMA, said each time a vaccine is created, experts gain more knowledge, which is applied to the next vaccine and may shorten the time required to decode a new virus and develop a vaccine for it.

In the same story, Dr. Thomas Brewer, senior vice president and chief medical officer of GSK Vaccines, said that, because of this knowledge and cooperation, a COVID-19 vaccine could be available in the next 12 to 18 months.

Which it was.

These vaccines weren’t tested enough

According to Edward-Elmhurst:

The Pfizer-BioNTech was studied in more than 40,000 people.

Moderna studied its vaccine in 30,000 people.

The Janssen (J&J) vaccine was studied in more than 40,000 people, to ensure they meet safety standards.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to monitor the safety and effectiveness of authorized vaccines.

What about side effects?

All vaccines can potentially have side effects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All over-the-counter and prescription drugs can have side effects, according to the FDA.

The CDC said common side effects people may experience after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine include pain, redness and swelling in the arm that received the shot and chills, fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea and tiredness throughout the body.

What about women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant?

Pombar said in a news release from Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox that the immune system of a woman who is pregnant is already comprised – and her risk for severe COVID is increased if she has diabetes or high blood pressure.

When Pombar was at Rush University Medical Center in 2020, he and his colleagues did see cases of pregnant women who died due to COVID infection, the release said.

All three vaccines are safe for pregnant women. Women who’ve had the vaccine have delivered healthy babies. Pregnant women are not in danger of “pre-term delivery, miscarriage, malformities or any other health concerns for mother or baby” and the vaccine will not negatively impact breastfeeding, according to Silver Cross.

In fact, the immunity gained from the vaccine “is believed to pass through the placenta protecting the baby,” Silver Cross said.

A joint statement from the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) stressed the importance of vaccination in these individuals.

COVID-19 vaccines also have no impact on fertility, according to SMFM and ACOG.