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UB doctors say COVID vaccine is critical for pregnant women

"We know it is safe and effective"
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Posted at 4:48 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-29 17:37:34-05

AMHERST, NY (WKBW) — “I’m scared for my patients who are walking around unvaccinated with the risk factor of pregnancy,” remarked Dr. Elana Tal, OBGYN at UBMD

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Dr. Elana Tal, OBGYN, is also pregnant, urging pregnant women to get vaccinated.

Vaccination rates among pregnant women remain relatively low. The Center for Disease Control latest numbers from November show only 35-percent of pregnant women in the U.S. have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Those numbers are even lower among pregnant Black women, at 21-percent and Latina women at nearly 32 percent.

With so much misinformation about vaccines, University at Buffalo doctors are putting out an urgent plea to pregnant women to get their COVID vaccine.

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UBMD OBGYN urging vaccinations.

Doctors at the University at Buffalo are urging pregnant women or anyone who is trying to get pregnant too get vaccinated against COVID

They say it is vital to protect both the mother and baby.

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Onesies for vaccinated moms.

“We also know for moms, who are not vaccinated or get COVID during pregnancy, there is an increased risk of those babies being still born,” Dr. Tal explained.

Dr. Tal is an OBGYN at UBMD and is also clinical assistant professor at UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine.

For her, encouraging pregnant women to get vaccinated is personal. She’s nine-months pregnant and just about a week out from giving birth.

“I really can look a patient in the eye, and without any concern, say ‘we have studied this in thousands and thousands of people and we know it is safe and effective’ and it is risky to decline the vaccine while you are pregnant because now you are putting yourself and your baby at risk of COVID,” described Tal.

Health experts say pregnancy is a risk factor for COVID that can lead to severe illness, hospitalization and even in some cases death.

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Dr. Allison Brashear, Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine, Vice President, for Health & Sciences, in a Zoom interview.

“There's nothing more important that a mother can do for the health of herself and the health of her baby is to get that vaccine,” Dr. Allison Brashear, Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine, vice president, UB Health & Sciences.

Dr. Brashear says pregnant women who get infected with COVID could face sever illness.

“You said there is the data of what can happen to a pregnant mom and their baby if they are unvaccinated. Can you give us a little substance on that data?” Buckley asked.

“Of course, you know an OBGYN, your doctor is the best place to get information, but pregnant women are absolutely at higher risk of COVID and so are the babies and the stress that they go through, and this is the time that we really want to make sure everyone is covered with a vaccination and a also with the booster,” replied Dr. Brashear.

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Inside UBMD.

These health experts say some pregnant women who have suffered COVID landed in the intensive care unit and some ended up on life support to breathe or needed life support to oxygenate their blood.

“There are stories out there about pregnant women who have gotten very, very sick and worse and getting a vaccination is one way to really make everyone is safer — mom and baby — and of course the community,” noted Dr. Brasher.

Dr. Tal says she got her first two vaccinations while trying to get pregnant and received her booster at seven months.

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Pamphlets encouraging vaccinations.

Dr. Tal says the misinformation about vaccines is “so scary”

“It causes kind of a visceral, emotional reaction for people that makes them feel like getting the vaccine isn’t the safest thing for them, but really the science is not unclear about this,” replied Dr. Tal. “The science is very clear — that getting the vaccine when you're trying to get pregnant or when you already are pregnant is the safest thing you can do for yourself and your baby. In fact, it might even be safer to be vaccinated before you’re pregnant because then you're protected against COVID and we know that COVID and pregnancy is more dangerous.”