New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reportedly confirm the safety of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy. Ongoing surveillance programs have found no safety concerns or increased miscarriage rates for the vaccine. The U.S. CDC is also following thousands of pregnant women as part of a large ongoing project called v-safe to track side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The program, called the v-safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry, is known to have more than 100,000 pregnant women participating in the program.
The first results of the surveillance study were peer-reviewed and published in The New England Journal of Medicine in June of this year. The study found no unusual side effects or pregnancy complications in those who received the vaccine during or before pregnancy.
This new analysis of v-safe data focuses more specifically on pregnancy loss in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. The not-yet-peer-reviewed study included 2,456 people who received the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine before pregnancy or during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Approximately 13% of subjects in this study experienced a miscarriage in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. In the general population, miscarriage occurs in 11 to 16 percent of pregnancies, so this new data confirms that the mRNA – COVID-19 vaccine does not increase a person’s risk of early pregnancy miscarriage.
Previous studies have not found that the mRNA vaccine causes preterm birth or abnormalities in newborns. v-safe surveillance is ongoing and will continue to follow pregnancies in the U.S. for signs of adverse vaccine reactions.
U.S. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky noted, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages all people who are pregnant or considering pregnancy and those who are breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19. The vaccine is safe and effective, and as we face highly infectious delta virus variants and see the serious consequences of COVID-19 in unvaccinated pregnant women, increasing vaccination has never been more urgent.”
While there is no indication to date that the COVID-19 vaccine can have adverse effects on pregnant women, there is clear evidence that COVID-19 infection may have adverse effects on pregnancy. British researchers have found that pregnant women are at higher risk for serious COVID-19 disease and twice as likely to deliver prematurely as others.