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Johns Hopkins Expert On How The COVID Vaccine Might Affect Pregnant Women: 'We Don't Know A Lot Yet'

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- As two coronavirus vaccines are expected to receive federal approval in a matter of weeks and cases continue to spike across the U.S., medical experts are still trying to learn more about how the vaccine may affect pregnant women.

During a Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 briefing Friday, Dr. Bill Moss said experts are still learning about how the vaccine might affect pregnant women and fetuses.

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"The short answer is we don't know a lot," Dr. Moss said. But he said there's a broader discussion that's been happening for years on how best to study vaccines and pregnant women, how to make sure that pregnant women get the vaccines that they need and how to ensure the vaccines are safe.


Dr. Moss said a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said pregnant women with COVID are potentially at greater risk of severe disease, adverse birth count outcomes, stillbirth and premature deliveries -- and that's concerning.

According to the CDC, there have been 42,268 pregnant women with coronavirus in the U.S. as of Nov. 30. Fifty-five pregnant women have died from COVID-19.

In the phase three trials, Moss said, pregnant women were excluded from participating in the trials.

"But we also know in very large trials such as this where we have tens of thousands of participants, that women will get pregnant during the phase three trial," he said. "So it's going to be very important going forward, to understand whether there were any adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with vaccination."

Dr. Moss said those risks are normally determined during the phase three trials.

"It's very important that we have that as the vaccine is rolled out that we collect all the information that we can on vaccination during pregnancy," he added. "Ultimately it comes down to really weighing the risks and benefits of vaccination during pregnancy."

They want to make sure the vaccine is not only safe for women during pregnancy but also if there is any risk to the developing fetus.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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