Local hospital president calls for COVID-19 vaccine trials to include more pregnant women

A local hospital president is calling for more COVID-19 vaccine trials with pregnant women. It comes after some say that there is not enough research on the vaccine impacts, but one local doctor who is pregnant herself said she got vaccinated even without the pregnancy research. “It was a pretty easy decision given the known risks of COVID,” said Dr. Megana Dwarakanath, an adolescent medicine fellow at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. At 36 weeks pregnant, Dr. Dwarakanath got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine without any side effects. “Pregnancy is almost like a restrictive lung disease. You’re carrying weight on top so that puts you at very high risk of having issues with breathing,” Dwarakanath said. “The current data is that pregnant women who develop symptoms from a COVID-19 infection have a modestly increased risk of worse outcomes, including being in the ICU and needing to be on a respirator,” said Dr. Richard Beigi, president of UPMC Magee Womens Hospital. The president of UPMC Magee Womens Hospital of Pittsburgh expressed his gratitude for scientists who developed the vaccine but is also outspoken about the lack of pregnant women in clinical trials, calling it unjust and deeply problematic. “It kind of puts women in a hard situation where they have to make this decision that some of them are really anxious about with very little information,” Beigi said. Despite the lack of evidence in clinical trials, Dr. Beigi has this message for pregnant women considering the COVID-19 vaccine. “We have been giving vaccines to pregnant women for decades. This is not a live attenuated vaccine. There’s no reason to believe this is going to cause harm and there’s a lot of reasons to believe that it will be helpful,” Beigi said. Beigi said it would be nice to have a better database so patients and providers could make better data-based decisions to help pregnant patients decide whether or not they’re comfortable getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

A local hospital president is calling for more COVID-19 vaccine trials with pregnant women.

It comes after some say that there is not enough research on the vaccine impacts, but one local doctor who is pregnant herself said she got vaccinated even without the pregnancy research.

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“It was a pretty easy decision given the known risks of COVID,” said Dr. Megana Dwarakanath, an adolescent medicine fellow at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

At 36 weeks pregnant, Dr. Dwarakanath got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine without any side effects.

“Pregnancy is almost like a restrictive lung disease. You’re carrying weight on top so that puts you at very high risk of having issues with breathing,” Dwarakanath said.

“The current data is that pregnant women who develop symptoms from a COVID-19 infection have a modestly increased risk of worse outcomes, including being in the ICU and needing to be on a respirator,” said Dr. Richard Beigi, president of UPMC Magee Womens Hospital.

The president of UPMC Magee Womens Hospital of Pittsburgh expressed his gratitude for scientists who developed the vaccine but is also outspoken about the lack of pregnant women in clinical trials, calling it unjust and deeply problematic.

“It kind of puts women in a hard situation where they have to make this decision that some of them are really anxious about with very little information,” Beigi said.

Despite the lack of evidence in clinical trials, Dr. Beigi has this message for pregnant women considering the COVID-19 vaccine.

“We have been giving vaccines to pregnant women for decades. This is not a live attenuated vaccine. There’s no reason to believe this is going to cause harm and there’s a lot of reasons to believe that it will be helpful,” Beigi said.

Beigi said it would be nice to have a better database so patients and providers could make better data-based decisions to help pregnant patients decide whether or not they’re comfortable getting the COVID-19 vaccine.