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Covid vaccines do not improve the danger of miscarriages or start defects, CDC says

A pregnant woman is given a vaccine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Skippack pharmacy in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, USA on February 11, 2021.

Hannah Beier | Reuters

Getting vaccinated against Covid doesn’t increase the risk of miscarriages or birth defects, officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The CDC tracked 1,613 pregnant women who received a Covid-19 vaccine, 30% of whom were vaccinated in the second trimester, while the remaining 70% received their vaccinations in the third trimester, said Dr. Christine Olson, a doctor with the CDC, told the agency’s Vaccination Practices Advisory Committee on Wednesday.

These participants gave birth to 1,634 children, including 42 twins.

“We reviewed the currently available registry data and found no evidence of an increase in spontaneous abortion rates and no evidence of disproportionately negative birth outcomes in infants,” said Olson.

The 1,613 participants were part of the CDC’s v-safe pregnancy registry, which had 5,096 participants as of September 13. The CDC reported that 79.4% of the registry participants were white, 8.4% Asian, 8.1% Hispanic, and 1.4% black. About 65% were between 25 and 34 years old, 33% were 35 to 44 years old.

Olson cited a CDC study of miscarriage-related Covid vaccines conducted December 14 through July 19. The report included a 12.8% risk of miscarriage by 20 weeks of pregnancy in 2,456 participants who received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines while pregnant. This is the normal risk of miscarriage after adjusting for the mother’s age.

Of the 1,634 babies Olson examined, 99 were premature babies, 45 were considered small for their gestational age, and 158 needed an intensive care unit. There were no infant deaths in the group.

Only 45 babies in the group were born with birth defects, and Olson did not report any unusual types or clusters of birth defects to the panel. Covid vaccines are also not linked to stillbirths, said Dr. Elyse Kharbanda, a researcher from the HealthPartners Institute, who presented her results to the committee.

Kharbanda monitored pregnant, Covid-immunized individuals within the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink from December to July and recorded 11,300 live births compared to 26 stillbirths during that period. Placental complications, obstetric complications, and maternal comorbidities were the main causes of these stillbirths, said Kharbanda.

“No worrying patterns related to timing of vaccine exposure or the etiology of stillbirths have been identified,” said Kharbanda.

The CDC reports that pregnant people are at higher risk for tougher Covid cases than the non-pregnant population. According to the agency, Covid also increases the likelihood of premature birth.

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