By Amy Deeley, MD
Reflecting on the past two years, the COVID-19 virus dominates my thoughts. Even amongst very difficult personal struggles, nothing compares to the effects of COVID-19 on my life. As with all of us, adjusting to the social distance between family and friends, the difficulty breathing with constant mask wearing and having to routinely repeat words during conversation now seems standard. Professionally, as an OB/GYN, what has not become routine (i.e. still difficult to manage) is participating in the care of severely sick pregnant patients on the verge of losing their lives. I find it unbelievable that my career, normally focused on bringing new life into the world, has taken the turn of preventing death in otherwise healthy, young patients. I know my partners and healthcare colleges share the agony.
My hope is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The brightest glimmer so far comes with the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Lingering questions about vaccine safety and effectiveness
Clinical Studies have reported “efficacy” between 90-95%. The “effectiveness,” or how many vaccinated people will still get the virus, is how well it works out in the real world. It is well known in the medical community that the effectiveness depends on the number of people vaccinated. The more people vaccinated the lower the exposure risk. In other words, If you want to decrease the risk of your grandmother getting COVID-19, then you both need to be vaccinated.
Should pregnant patients get the vaccine?
Women who are pregnant may be at greater risk for severe illness and may have an increased risk of serious poor pregnancy outcomes. Experts agree that mothers who want the COVID-19 vaccine should get one, and that the vaccine is “unlikely to pose a risk for people that are pregnant“ and “not thought to be a risk for the breast-feeding infant.“ With their doctor’s help, women who are pregnant should consider information such as the extent of COVID-19 transmission in their community, the patient’s risk of contracting COVID-19, and the risks of COVID-19 infection to the patient and baby.
Let’s remember, it’s not over yet, but we can still feel the sun on our backs.