CDC study: Pfizer, Moderna COVID vaccines safe during pregnancy

New research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no evidence showing that Pfizer or Moderna's coronavirus vaccines pose risk during pregnancy. CBS News reporter Alex Tin joins "Red and Blue" anchor Caitlin Huey-Burns with more on the study and an update on when health officials might end the pause on Johnson and Johnson's vaccine.

Video Transcript

CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS: A surge of coronavirus cases in Michigan appears to have reached its peak. After becoming the nation's worst hotspot, new infections and hospitalizations are starting to decline. The state's seven day average of new cases has dropped over 12% from the previous week. Meanwhile, California is now the state with the lowest case rate in the Continental US, this after battling fall and winter surges. It's now averaging about 2,300 new infections per day.

The US has reached President Biden's goal of administering 200 million vaccine doses ahead of schedule. But data shows that the progress is starting to slow. About three million Americans are now getting vaccinated per day. That's an 11% drop from the previous week. For more, let's bring in CBS News reporter Alex Tin, who has been covering the nation's pandemic response. Alex, thanks for being here. And we've all been following your reporting on this as well. So we appreciate your time.

Can you tell us what the latest is with the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine coming back online?

ALEX TIN: Yeah. Well, we're learning actually just a few minutes ago new details about that meeting that's going to happen tomorrow between an independent panel of advisors known as the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, that's within the CDC that will consider whether and how to resume the Johnson & Johnson vaccine across the United States. You'll recall that ACIP met last week and they were initially supposed to issue potentially updated recommendations on how to use the shot following those reports of rare blood clots, but ended up not reaching any decision at all and being abruptly adjourned without any type of votes and updated recommendations.

We're on for round two now this time. And federal health officials have said publicly for days that they, number one, expect some kind of resumption to happen today, whether it's going to be with a warning or some kind of other recommendations attached to it to restrict it to certain groups. And that resumption recommendation from ACIP will then finally go back to the FDA. That's the regulator that oversees drugs, oversees vaccines.

They have access, confidential data about upcoming and other adenovirus based vaccines like Johnson & Johnson's, like the AstraZeneca vaccine that is also going to be pursuing an emergency use authorization soon. And they'll take a look at that totality of evidence, an agency official recently said, in addition to the ACIP's recommendations, and probably resume the shot maybe by this weekend.

CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS: And Alex, have we seen any sort of data that shows that there was some hesitancy attributed to that pause in the J&J vaccine?

ALEX TIN: Yes. Well, it's a complicated picture. I mean, you did see a lot of opinion polling come out, especially in that first week after the pause was initially recommended, showing a real decline in trust and interest in getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. A lot of that had to do with the way the pause was rolled out. A lot of that doesn't seem to have spread to the other doses. You didn't see dramatic drops in confidence in say the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, where we haven't seen this rare but serious pattern of blood clots combined with thrombocytopenia. That's the low blood platelets that we've been seeing.

But of course, all of that said, that drop is still not meaning that everyone in the country doesn't want to get the shots. And especially after ACIP meets in an open and transparent way tomorrow, reviews the data, the FDA eventually reviewing their recommendations, and potentially resuming the shots, there is a real hope from federal health officials and local health officials that confidence will increase in this shot.

CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS: And Alex, a really interesting dynamic going on, I think, is that Europe lags far behind the US when it comes to vaccinations. And now, the US actually faces some accusations of stockpiling vaccines while other nations just can't get enough. Is the White House considering sending any vaccines to other countries at this point?

ALEX TIN: Yeah. Well, it is a complicated question for a few reasons. I mean, yes. You've heard President Biden say, I think recently, that he was considering sending doses that we have here, that has been manufactured. Remember, that was the whole idea of Operation Warp Speed. They would manufacture doses, they would be ready to ship by the time of authorization instead of authorizing the doses then manufacturing the doses. He said yesterday, they were planning on sharing those doses.

But of course, the caveat there is if they are safe. And what we've learned since yesterday is that, for example, the doses that we loaned to Canada and Mexico of AstraZeneca's vaccine that had been manufactured here in the United States, was manufactured at an Emergent BioSolutions plant in Baltimore. That's the one that had to discard 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine over concerns of cross contamination, and was recently dinged in an FDA inspection for other issues related to cross contamination and unsanitary conditions.

So obviously, that's a real concern. AstraZeneca has said they carefully tested those lots. And it passed all of their quality checks. But that's going to be a real obstacle to sharing any more doses of AstraZeneca's vaccine. And of course putting all of that aside, you have had countries complaining for months that the United States has been hoarding the supplies that are used to go into those shots, prioritizing them for American shots over foreign shots using the defense production [INAUDIBLE].

CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS: And Alex, another big headline today regarding vaccines and pregnancy. According to new research published by the CDC, there appears to be no evidence that Pfizer or Moderna's vaccine pose any serious risks during pregnancy. What more can you tell us about that study?

ALEX TIN: Well, this study is just the latest from what we've seen from a number of studies from the CDC's vaccine safety team. That's the same team that noticed that early signal of potentially rare blood clotting from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. They've been carefully tracking reports both from health providers, but also through the V-safe app. And for those of you out there who are getting your vaccination soon, or maybe got one recently, you probably already know about the V-safe app. That's a voluntary way that people can sign up on their smartphones and just report potential symptoms they have after vaccination, serious or minor.

Do you have pain? Do you have chills? Do you have fever? CDC has been collecting and tracking all of that data. And yesterday, they published data from the two mRNA vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer, showing that for pregnant women compared to other women of a similar age that weren't pregnant, reactogenicity, that's the general side effects you feel from the shot, as well as serious health concerns, just weren't present in all of the data they looked at so far.

CAITLIN HUEY-BURNS: Yeah. A lot of people are very grateful for all those people who are giving their opinions in real time and their experiences in real time. Helps us get more data and information. Alex Tin, I always learn so much from you. Thank you so much for your reporting. And hope to see you soon.

ALEX TIN: Thank you.