The Decision for Vaccination while Pregnant: One Woman’s Story

As the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine rolled out at the end of 2020, Kristen and Josh Brown met with their obstetrician for their twelve-week visit and discussed pros and cons of vaccination.

Kristen, 30, was eligible to schedule the vaccination because of her employment with Memorial Health System, which was in the process of vaccinating all healthcare employees. But clinical trials had not been done on pregnant women with either Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines so there was little information about vaccine effectiveness, risks or side effects for either the mother or baby.

While Josh was pro-vaccination, Kristen read articles from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and talked with friends who were doing similar research.

“At the time of that mid-December visit, our doctor wasn’t advising against it or advocating for it,” Kristen said. “I did some soul-searching. I was hesitant because I didn’t want to do anything that might hurt the baby. But I also didn’t want to end up in the hospital, pregnant and on a ventilator with COVID-19. I just needed to breathe and step back and really think about it instead of making a quick decision.”

Ultimately, the couple decided to move forward with the vaccination when it was available for Kristen through Memorial’s employee vaccination protocol.

Today, her pregnancy continues to go smoothly. She experienced a sore arm after the first Moderna shot and chills and body aches after the second. The pregnancy continues to go smoothly with a summer due date ahead.

“We are very excited,” Kristen said. “By the time we give birth, I hope we have returned to some level of normalcy. I would love to have a baby shower with friends and family!”

She encourages others who are pregnant to do what is best for their individual situation. “It really is an individual decision. Why not protect your child now while you can? Vaccination is one thing you can control.”

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