COVID VACCINATION INFORMATION
COVID-19 VACCINE INFORMATION
To date, none of the clinical trials of the coronavirus vaccines included pregnant women as subjects. Therefore, there is not any direct data assessing the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in pregnancy. The vaccines represent a new type of vaccine (mRNA vaccine) that has not been previously licensed in the US. The COVID vaccines do not contain any active, weakened, or inactivated virus. They contain segments of viral RNA, which induce the cells in the vaccine recipient’s body to produce the “spike protein” of the coronavirus, which then leads to an immune response. While it is not likely that this type of immunization would lead to complications if given to a pregnant person, there are no direct data to confirm that.
Pregnant patients are at increased risk for serious complications from COVID-19, including increased risk of ICU admissions and death, like clinical experience with other respiratory viruses. In addition, COVID-19 infection during pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk of preterm delivery. On January 25, 2021, the WHO released a statement with interim recommendations regarding the Moderna vaccine in pregnant women. That document advises that due to the lack of currently available data regarding risks of the vaccine in pregnant women, the vaccine not be administered to pregnant women unless the benefit of vaccinating a pregnant woman outweighs the potential vaccine risks, such as in health workers at high risk of exposure and pregnant women with comorbidities placing them in a high-risk group for severe COVID-19. A similar interim statement from the WHO was published on January 8, 2021, regarding the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Despite this recent statement, the Task Force of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) does not recommend withholding the vaccine from patients who are planning to conceive, who are currently pregnant, or who are lactating. Further, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM) recently issued a statement on January 27th regarding COVID-19 vaccination in pregnant women following the WHO’s interim recommendations as above. ACOG and SMFM maintain that pregnant women should continue to be offered COVID-19 vaccines.
A subsequent joint statement from ASRM and ACOG released on February 5, 2021 states “as experts in reproductive health, we continue to recommend that vaccine be available to pregnant individuals. We also assure patients that there is no evidence that the vaccine can lead to a loss of fertility. While fertility was not specifically studied in the clinical trials of the vaccine, no loss of fertility has been reported among trial participants or among the millions who have received the vaccines since their authorization, and no signs of infertility appeared in animal studies. Loss of fertility is scientifically unlikely.”
Most recently, ASRM released an update on February 22, 2021, which addresses the question of COVID19 vaccine administration and timing related to IVF egg retrieval and embryo transfer. It is recommended by ASRM that patients scheduled for elective surgery or outpatient procedures, including IVF egg retrieval, embryo transfer, intrauterine insemination, and elective outpatient surgery, AVOID the COVID19 vaccine at least 3 days prior to and 3 days after their procedure.
This recommendation is not because being vaccinated is unsafe, but rather because known side effects of the vaccine may impact intraoperative and post-surgical monitoring. Common side effects after COVID19 vaccination, especially after the second dose, include fever, chills, fatigue, myalgia, and headaches, which typically occur and resolve within three days. Anesthesia impairs normal thermoregulatory control and may be impacted by pre-existing fever. Additionally, these side effects would make it difficult to determine if a post-procedure fever is related to the vaccine or to a developing infection related to the procedure.
Therefore, in light of the above new updates to the ASRM and ACOG guidance, our physicians advise women to follow the ASRM guidelines of avoiding COVID19 vaccination for at least 3 days prior to an infertility procedure (intrauterine insemination, IVF egg retrieval, IVF embryo transfer) and at least 3 days after the procedure. We strongly encourage all patients to seek out vaccination as soon as they are able to receive whichever vaccine is readily available to them as long as the timing of vaccination is within the guidelines as above.
We are very pleased to announce that our physicians have received the Pfizer COVID vaccine and many of our staff members have received their vaccinations as well so that our office is as safe as possible for patient care.
We have resumed all aspects of our care.
Your safety and health are our utmost concerns. Many of our processes have been redesigned to minimize any risk related to COVID-19 and offer the safest and highest quality care possible.
We ask that patients come alone to your appointments. Partners are welcome for new patient appointments, IUI appointments, early pregnancy scans and frozen embryo transfer appointments only.
All patients and staff must wear masks at all times. We have removed seating from our waiting room and have spaced out our patient visits significantly so that only a few patients can be in our clinic at one time. Our sterilization and patient flow strategies meet or exceed all recommendations and guidelines. Please click on this link for a complete list of all our risk lowering strategies we have incorporated to provide you the best care possible.
Videoconferencing and phone calls are available and will continue to be utilized to limit the number of visits to our center.
Please give us a call to start or resume your care with us. We are excited to see you!