NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As the COVID vaccine begins to roll out, many of you have questions about who should get it, and where it’s safe.
What about pregnant or breastfeeding women, or people with compromised immune systems?
CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez has answers to those viewer questions.
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Let’s start out with the largest number of people in the first priority group.
Is the vaccine safe for pregnant or breast feeding women?
Pfizer did not study the safety of its COVID vaccine in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Even so, the FDA and CDC both took the somewhat unusual step to allow pregnant or breastfeeding women to decide for themselves whether to get the vaccine, partly because the majority of frontline healthcare workers are women, and an estimated 330,000 of them are presently pregnant or breastfeeding. Several experts have pointed out the risk of COVID during pregnancy is much greater than a possible risk from the vaccine. They also noted that a number of vaccines, like flu and whooping cough, are actually recommended for pregnant women. A nursing mother will pass along her antibodies in breast milk, protecting her newborn. Still, discuss your choice with your doctor.
Will someone with a suppressed immune system be able to get or should they get the vaccine?
People with compromised or suppressed immune systems, due to cancer treatments like chemotherapy, an inborn immune deficiency, or an acquired condition like HIV, were not specifically studied in the Pfizer clinical trial. There were 120 HIV-positive people in the trial, but they were not included in the final safety and efficacy analysis, so the answer is not clear. On the one hand, immunocompromised people are at great risk for bad outcomes with COVID. On the other hand, they may not respond as robustly to the vaccine, and so may not be as protected, or may require additional boosters. Pfizer has additional trials looking at these populations.
We still have a lot to learn about these vaccines in all the different groups who will need them.
To submit your question to Dr. Max, click here.