A New York City-run health clinic offering Covid-19 vaccinations in the Bronx has been telling pregnant people not to get the vaccine. According to The Gothamist, the clinic was including pregnancy or possible pregnancy as a screening question and some medical professionals were found to be advising pregnant people against getting the Covid-19 booster shot.
It is important to note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the Covid-19 vaccine for people who are “pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.” The CDC also notes in its recommendation that there is no evidence that the vaccine causes infertility in men or women, and that “data suggests that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.” The New York City health department also recommends the Covid-19 vaccine for women.
The vaccine hub at the Bathgate Contract Postal Station Business Service Center did not share the same messaging offered by health officials, it seems. When The Gothamist asked about the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine for pregnant people, they were told by a health professional that “we don’t have enough research.” Another staff member added that there could be unknown side effects. When asked by The Gothamist about medical professionals in a city-run clinic advising against the vaccine, NYC Health+Hospitals spokesperson Stephanie Guzman said in a statement, “NYC Health + Hospitals encourages all eligible New Yorkers to receive their COVID-19 vaccines and booster shot to help protect against severe illness, including before, during, and after pregnancy.”
There are reportedly other New York City vaccine hubs offering the same guidance against pregnant people getting the Covid-19 vaccine, per The Gothamist, despite the fact that contracting Covid-19 is a serious health risk. Pregnancy causes a 70% increase in the risk of death from Covid-19 as well as an increased risk of stillbirth.
Sadly, these vaccine hubs are not the first to turn pregnant people away who want to get vaccinated against Covid-19. There have been several reports of pregnant people experiencing difficult barriers to getting their Covid-19 vaccine since the vaccine was first offered, which can have them questioning their decision to get the vaccine in the first place. Dr. Sindhu K. Srinivas, M.D., director of obstetrical services at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine COVID-19 task force, told Romper in January 2021. “[A pregnant person] who really toiled with this decision and decided that the vaccine is the right choice for them, who then has somebody question that decision and turn them away, makes it feel like, ‘Well, is this something harmful that I'm doing that I shouldn't be doing?’ which then perpetuates this continued issue of misinformation about the vaccine.”