Pfizer is starting clinical trials in pregnant women to evaluate the safety, tolerability and immune response to its coronavirus vaccine. KDKA's Dr. Maria Simbra has more.
- A new study suggests pregnant women could be far more likely to get COVID-19 than previously thought.
- But some doctors say a lack of data is making it difficult for them to recommend vaccinations for pregnant women. Dr. Maria Simbra takes a look at the effort to change that.
MARIA SIMBRA: Christine Fabrizio is a health care worker who got the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. At the time of her second dose in January, she was 21 weeks pregnant.
CHRISTINE FABRIZIO: I wish there was some studies. It was definitely like a level of uncertainty, but I was actually more worried about getting COVID. I had seen multiple pregnant patients come in positive for COVID. I saw the toll it took on them.
MARIA SIMBRA: Had there been a clinical trial, she would have participated.
CHRISTINE FABRIZIO: I would love to share my results, you know, if it had been available.
MARIA SIMBRA: Pregnant women are at risk for severe complications with COVID-19, which is why many obstetricians advise them to get vaccinated.
- They're at higher risk for intensive care unit admission, higher risk for needing a mechanical ventilation.
MARIA SIMBRA: But because studies have not included pregnant women, doctors have a dilemma.
- Should we give patients this vaccine where we only have limited information?
MARIA SIMBRA: Now, Pfizer is starting clinical trials and pregnant women to evaluate safety, tolerability, and immune response to its vaccine. The company is recruiting 4,000 women later in pregnancy between 24 and 34 weeks gestation. After the baby is born, if the mother got placebo, she will be offered vaccine.
The babies will be followed as well for six months to see if they have protective antibodies transferred from mom. Dr. [INAUDIBLE] is glad the study is moving forward.
- Very important and very necessary.
MARIA SIMBRA: But he had hoped it would include women in early pregnancy to determine any risks for birth defects and miscarriage. Now at 26 weeks, this expectant mom is relieved she's been immunized.
CHRISTINE FABRIZIO: Knowing that, like, I'm not putting my life or my unborn baby's life on the line about.
MARIA SIMBRA: 20,000 pregnant women have received the coronavirus vaccine in the US. With informal analysis, no red flags have popped up. The data has yet to be systematically reviewed and published. I'm Dr. Maria Simbra, KDKA news.