Lack of Pregnant Women in Vaccine Trials Raises Concerns

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says there is no "simple answer" whether pregnant health care workers should be vaccinated.
Posted at 3:37 PM, Dec 08, 2020

"It's been some journey for all of us. It's been an incredible success," said President Trump Tuesday. 

"Operation Warp Speed" helped develop COVID vaccines. But the trials left pregnant women out. 

None of the leading candidates included pregnant women in their clinical trials. That’s actually common practice, but concerning... because pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to be admitted to the ICU than non-pregnant women. 

“I never thought it would happen to me,” said Jennifer Rodriguez. 

Jennifer Rodriguez was one of the lucky ones. Her case of COVID-19 during pregnancy was mild. But her story highlights fears of pregnant or would-be-moms, particularly those working on the front lines. 

According to the U.S. Census, women make up three-quarters of all full-time health care workers.  And data from the CDC shows 79% of health care workers who contracted COVID-19 were female. So should pregnant women on the front lines get the vaccine?

In a statement to Newsy, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said “There isn’t a simple answer.” 

“It is reasonable for them to have that serious conversation with their doctor about it. But it's not going to be something that there can be a blanket recommendation right now, it really has to be an individualized discussion about risks and benefits,” said  Dr. Jasmine Marcelin an Infectious Diseases Physician at The University of Nebraska Medical Center. 

The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna may be safer for pregnant women since they use mRNA — not a live virus like other vaccines.  

When asked by Newsy, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar didn’t offer clear advice.

"I'm going to leave that to FDA and its advisory committee as they've been reviewing the data. I don't want to make any speculations there," Azar stated. 

We reached out to both Pfizer and Moderna. Pfizer tells us they are going through the steps to determine if and when clinical trials in pregnant women can begin. Moderna didn’t reply. Amber Strong, Newsy.