Dr. Mehta Answers Novel Coronavirus Vaccine Fertility Questions

 

Updated on March 3, 2021

Dr. Rinku Mehta has more information on the new novel coronavirus vaccine

Video transcript

Hi everyone I’m Dr. Rinku Mehta at Dallas IVF, and today I wanted to take a quick few minutes and talk to you guys about the COVID vaccine.

Myth: COVID-19 vaccine can cause infertility

Again, a lot of patients are continuing to ask about whether or not it is safe to take when they are going through treatments or if they’re pregnant. It seems like there is some misinformation floating around in social media sites that the COVID vaccine affects infertility and that it causes infertility. Let me just start off by saying that is not true, that is completely false information. Not sure where that got started but there is no scientific basis to that claim.

How mRNA vaccines work

Let’s talk about what the COVID vaccine is. So, it is a novel vaccine. It is an mRNA vaccine, mRNA stands for messenger RNA. It is not gene therapy. mRNA does not enter the nucleus of your cells it does not alter your DNA. What it does is it sends a message to the protein forming mechanism in your cells, the ribosomes. It tells them to make a protein that is very similar to the spike protein of the COVID virus. This protein is then recognized by your immune system as abnormal and it mounts an antibody response to this protein so that when it encounters a real COVID virus and the real spike protein, there’s already immune memory, so your body knows how to shut it down quickly. So that’s how vaccines work in general, the mRNA vaccine is just a newer form of vaccines we’ve never had mRNA being used as a tool to make vaccines before, so it is new. However, it seems to be very effective and is effective against multiple different variants of COVID.

COVID-19 vaccine and pregnant women

So, as far as infertility and pregnancy, various different organizations including the CDC, American College of OB/GYN and ASRM have come out with statements. American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has actually been very vocal and strong about its recommendation to get the COVID vaccine. When you get the COVID vaccine, it does not affect placental development, it does not affect the health of your baby. The pregnant women that get COVID are at higher risk of having more serious disease, of needing to be on a ventilator, of needing to be hospitalized, than women that are not pregnant. So, there is no reason to withhold the COVID vaccine from a pregnant woman. The risk to the mom and to the baby from actually getting COVID is a lot higher than the theoretical risk of getting the vaccine.

Yes, understandably there have not been many studies in pregnant women, there are studies that are ongoing but all the data we have, all the science that we have that tells about the mechanism of action does not cause any concern that this would be harmful to a patient that is either trying to get pregnant or who is pregnant.

COVID-19 vaccine recommendation

So long story short, when patients ask us, “ Do we recommend the COVID vaccine?” the answer is absolutely, yes. We do recommend the COVID vaccine, it is safe for you to take if you are undergoing fertility treatments or if you’re pregnant. The only time it’s not safe is if you have an allergy to some of the components of the COVID vaccine, and when you go get the vaccine they will ask you about these allergies. Once you take the vaccine you’re also monitored for 15 minutes to make sure you don’t have a reaction to it. So again, we are recommending, yes you take the COVID vaccine. If you have any further questions you can always discuss it with your physician.

I hope you find this useful, this is Dr. Mehta.


The information below was originally posted on December 16, 2020

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

Now that the novel coronavirus vaccine is here, what are pregnant women and women trying to conceive supposed to do?

Dr. Rinku Mehta discusses the new COVID-19 vaccine

Video transcript

Hi I’m Dr. Rinku Mehta at Dallas IVF, and today I wanted to discuss the COVID vaccination. A lot of patients are asking about whether the COVID vaccination is safe in pregnant women, if it should be given in pregnancy. This is the vaccine that was just released by Pfizer, this is an mRNA vaccine and it’s given in two doses, three weeks apart. After the first dose immunity is a little over 50% and after the second dose it is about 95% effective.This is given three weeks apart each dose. 

Novel coronavirus vaccine and pregnancy

So the question becomes, Should pregnant women take it? Just like we recommend that pregnant women should take the flu vaccine, with the COVID vaccine, given that it’s brand new, efficacy and safety has not actually been tested in pregnant women. However, since there is no live virus –  this is an inactive mRNA vaccine – there is no risk of infecting a mom or baby. Just like other vaccinations that are inactive, if the risks outweigh the benefit considerations should be made to give the vaccine. 

Pregnancy and COVID-19 mortality risk

Pregnancy is already a condition where pregnant women, because of the metabolic changes that happen in a pregnancy, they are at higher risk of more serious manifestations of COVID. They are at higher risk of hospitalization and ICU admission, however not at higher risk of mortality. 

Novel coronavirus vaccine recommendations

So with respect to the COVID vaccine it should not be withheld from pregnant women that are in the high-risk categories. Both American College of OB-GYN and Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine have come out with statements essentially saying that the COVID vaccine should not be withheld from pregnant women in the high-risk categories. If somebody does get the vaccine they don’t have to hold off on becoming pregnant thereafter. Also, if somebody is pregnant and gets the vaccine that is not a reason for having to terminate the pregnancy. 

Talk to your doctor

Again this is a discussion you should have with your gynecologist when you’re pregnant, when the vaccine becomes available to the general population, whether or not they would recommend for you to take it. At this time it is being given to the people in the priority groups such as healthcare workers, people that are over 65, people with comorbid conditions, and also pregnant women with comorbid conditions that would put them at high risk of serious infections. Considerations should be given to them for taking the COVID vaccine. 

I hope you find this useful. Have a great day. 


 

Considerations for the COVID-19 vaccine