New CDC data affirms mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are safe during pregnancy
New data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is affirming the safety of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy. The ongoing surveillance project found no safety concerns for the vaccines or increased rates of miscarriage.
As part of a large ongoing project tracking COVID-19 vaccine side effects called v-safe, the CDC is also following thousands of pregnancies. Called the v-safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry, there are currently well over 100,000 pregnancies included in the project.
In June the first results from the surveillance study were peer-reviewed and published in The New England Journal of Medicine. That study detected no unusual adverse effects or pregnancy complications in those either vaccinated during pregnancy or vaccinated before conceiving.
This new analysis of v-safe data focuses more specifically on pregnancy loss in the first 20 weeks of gestation. The study, not yet peer-reviewed, included 2,456 individuals who received a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine either before conception or during the first 20 weeks of gestation.
Around 13 percent of subjects in the study experienced a miscarriage in those first 20 weeks of pregnancy. In the general population miscarriage can occur in 11 to 16 percent of pregnancies, so this new data affirms mRNA COVID-19 vaccination does not heighten a person’s risk of early pregnancy loss.
Prior research has not detected mRNA vaccination leading to higher rates or premature birth or abnormalities in newborns. The v-safe surveillance is ongoing, and will continue to track pregnancies in the US for signs of adverse vaccine effects.
“CDC encourages all pregnant people or people who are thinking about becoming pregnant and those breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19,” says Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC. “The vaccines are safe and effective, and it has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible Delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people.”
While there are no signs of adverse effects from COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant individuals so far, there is clear evidence COVID-19 infection can adversely impact pregnancies. Researchers in the UK have found those who are pregnant are at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and twice as likely to experience premature birth.
“We know that those who are pregnant with COVID-19 are at an increased risk of becoming severely ill, particularly in their third trimester, and the vaccine is the safest and most effective way of protecting women and their babies,” says Edward Morris, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK. “From the numbers of pregnant women admitted into intensive care with COVID-19 over the past few weeks, it is clear that the risk is reduced for those who have received the vaccine particularly if they have had two vaccinations.”