COVID vaccines: safe for pregnant women, getting closer for 12 to 15 year olds

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 9:45 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - A little more than 20 percent of the U.S. is vaccinated, keeping on track to return to normal by this summer And South Dakota ranks second in terms of vaccination rates, trailing just behind New Mexico.

Despite continued research and more and more shots in arms, there is still hesitancy surrounding the vaccine, especially when it comes to children.

It’s no secret there’s been skepticism surrounding COVID-19 and hesitancy for its vaccines but as that fades away for some, there’s still a glaring uncertainty for others, how does this affect unborn children or future pregnancies?

“Younger women especially are concerned about reproduction and fertility, those are not a concern,” said Shankar Kurra, vice president of medical affairs for Monument Health. “The data is overwhelmingly safe, there are over 600 million vaccines given worldwide and so far, all the evidence points to safety when it comes to fertility and reproduction.”

According to the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, pregnant women who received the vaccine passed COVID antibodies onto their babies. Although that will help in the long-term fight against COVID, children under 16 are still at risk.

“Pfizer and Moderna are in trials with children and they will publish results through the FDA soon,” said Kurra. “This is very important, as long as children are still vulnerable, there is a condition called multi-inflammatory syndrome that children get because of COVID and they can end up in the ICU requiring critical intervention. The other reason is, children can act as reservoirs.”

Last week, Pfizer announced it submitted a request to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization of its COVID vaccine for children ages 12 to 15, an effort by Pfizer and Moderna to have a vaccine available for children by the 2021/2022 school year.

But Kurra says until it’s available for children, it’s the adults’ responsibility to move the pandemic one step closer to the finish line.

“We may not see it until the last quarter of this year or the first quarter of next year, another reason why we should get vaccinated and get to at least 70 to 80 percent of this community vaccinated because that protects the children,” said Kurra. “It’s a shot to save our lives.”

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