While many Americans have resumed normal lives after the past two years, the COVID pandemic has not gone away, especially if you have a pre-existing condition or are pregnant.
The nonprofit and nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is reminding mothers-to-be in the Bluegrass state that being vaccinated against COVID-19 is one of many ways to better ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Vice president for communications Ashley Brauer said all available data shows vaccination is safe for pregnant women and their children, and the goal of the campaign is to give mothers the facts they need to make an informed decision.
“The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Kentucky Association of Health Plans have partnered on this educational campaign with a goal to really increase knowledge,” said Brauer, “and really encourage pregnant women to have a conversation with their doctors so that they can learn more and decide what’s right for them.”
Brauer says science-based information, including a series of video testimonials from medical professionals and mothers who were vaccinated while pregnant, are available online at Healthy-KY.org.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now — or might become pregnant in the future.
In a testimonial video, vaccinated mother Chelsea Lexington said she chose to be part of the campaign to encourage expectant mothers to make the same decision she did.
“Getting pregnant during a pandemic is one thing I will never forget,” said Lexington. “My decision to get the COVID-19 vaccine was about the safety and protection of my child. My advice to you would be to go and talk to your doctor to see if the shot is the right thing for you.”
Katherine Kington North — director of external affairs for the Kentucky Association of Health Plans — said while the decision is ultimately up to each mother-to-be, the benefits of vaccination are clear.
“It is so important because only 31% of pregnant women in the U.S. are vaccinated for COVID,” said Kington North. “And unvaccinated pregnant women are 40% more likely to develop serious complications from COVID. So empowering pregnant women to have a deeper conversation about the vaccine.”
When given to a pregnant woman, the COVID-19 vaccine works in the muscle where the vaccine is injected, and does not cross to the baby directly. But antibodies are received through the placenta or through breast milk after birth, providing some protection to the baby against the novel coronavirus during the first six months of life.