The COVID vaccines have always been an option for anyone who is pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, as well as those who are breastfeeding. But at first, data was lacking, and pregnant people were kind of on their own to make a decision whether to get the shot or not. Now, multiple studies make it clear the benefits of getting a vaccine in pregnancy outweigh the risks.
The CDC has now released a collection of data on people who got the vaccine before or during pregnancy, or who were breastfeeding. It all points in the same direction: the vaccines are safe, and not getting a COVID vaccine is the riskier choice.
COVID vaccines caused no increased risk of miscarriage
Miscarriages were no more common in people who got the vaccine than in the general population, according to one of the newly-released studies. The researchers followed 2,500 people who received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines before pregnancy or in the first 20 weeks. Thirteen percent had a miscarriage; the CDC reports that typically, 11-16% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.
No concerns from pregnancy data monitoring
The CDC follows pregnancy outcomes from multiple data sources, and they have noted that so far, they “did not find any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated late in pregnancy or for their babies.” (The previously mentioned study, on miscarriage, looked at people vaccinated early in pregnancy.)
That study included over 35,000 people and found that rates of pregnancy loss, premature birth, and small birth weight are comparable to those found in pre-COVID studies. In other words, there was no direct control group for this or the miscarriage study (withholding a vaccine for the sake of the study would be considered unethical) but the data supports the idea that vaccinated people are equally as likely as unvaccinated people to have a healthy pregnancy.
Vaccination may protect your baby even after birth
Another important study is this one, which looked at the effectiveness of the vaccine in pregnant people. (Remember, people were excluded from the original vaccine trials if they were pregnant.) Not only was the vaccine effective, as you would expect, but babies retained some antibodies against the COVID virus after birth.
This type of immunity is known from other vaccines, and it’s the reason why a pertussis shot (TDaP) is recommended during each pregnancy, even if you as the pregnant person are up to date on your shots—your baby hangs on to some of those antibodies for a few months.
While there is still not much information on the vaccine and breastfeeding specifically, there is some evidence that antibodies against COVID can be present in breast milk. The vaccine is considered safe for lactating people and their babies.
COVID is more of a risk than the shot
It’s reasonable to want to avoid anything potentially risky during pregnancy. That’s why people often decline medications and procedures that can wait until after they give birth. But in the case of a COVID vaccine, the choice isn’t between the vaccine and nothing at all; it’s between the vaccine and potentially being infected with COVID.
People who are pregnant, or who have recently been pregnant, are at increased risk of severe illness (including hospitalization and death) if they do contract COVID. People who contract COVID are also at a greater risk of giving birth prematurely or having a baby with worse health outcomes, compared to people who are not infected with the virus.
For these reasons, the CDC now agrees with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Society in strongly urging pregnant patients to get the vaccine.
You can read the CDC’s full recommendations for people who are pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, or who are breastfeeding here. If you have further questions about the safety of vaccines in pregnancy, talk to your regular doctor or provider. The CDC also recommends contacting MotherToBaby, which can answer questions over the phone or via email in English or Spanish.
Peel Region reports its first confirmed case of monkeypox – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News
Peel Region has its first confirmed case of monkeypox.
According to Peel Public Health, the person infected is an adult male in his 30s who lives in Mississauga.
The heath unit said the risk to the public remains low.
Monkeypox, which comes from the same virus family as smallpox, spreads though close contact with an infected individual. Most transmission happens through close contact with the skin lesions of monkeypox, but the virus can also be spread by large droplets or by sharing contaminated items.
To reduce risk of infection, people are advised to be cautious when engaging in intimate activities with others. Vaccination is available for high-risk contacts of cases and for those deemed at high risk of exposure to monkeypox.
Symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash/lesions, which could appear on the face or genitals and then spread to other areas.
Anyone who develops these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and avoid close contact with others until they have improved and rash/lesions have healed.
While most people recover on their own without treatment, those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox should self-monitor for symptoms, and contact PPH to see if they are eligible for vaccination.
The Mississauga case is at least the 34th confirmed case of the disease in Ontario, with dozens more under investigation.
Monkeypox case count rises to more than 3400 globally, WHO says – The Globe and Mail
More than 3,400 confirmed monkeypox cases and one death were reported to the World Health Organization as of last Wednesday, with a majority of them from Europe, the agency said in an update on Monday.
WHO said that since June 17, 1,310 new cases were reported to the agency, with eight new countries reporting monkeypox cases.
Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, WHO ruled last week, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.
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Sudbury news: Northern agencies highlight national HIV testing day | CTV News – CTV News Northern Ontario
Monday was national HIV testing day. Officials say this year’s theme surrounds how getting tested is an act of self-care.
From clinics to self-testing kits, groups in the north say there are many options to get tested and everyone should use whichever way works best for them.
Just more than a year ago, Reseau Access Network in Sudbury teamed with Ready to Know and Get a Kit, groups that provide HIV self-testing kits at a pickup location.
Officials said it has been a huge success.
“We get a consistent number throughout each month and I can’t really divulge those figures, unfortunately, but as part of the overall study I can tell you the pickup of self-tests is a fraction of the amount of tests being ordered,” said Angel Riess, of Reseau Access Network.
“There’s actually a lot of tests being shipped to homes directly but I can confirm that they have been active and there’s a significant number of people who have chosen to engage in both programs.”
Elsewhere, the Aids Committee of North Bay and Area held a point-of-care testing clinic to mark the day.
“It’s an opportunity for us to remind everyone that getting tested is essential. If you don’t know you have HIV, you can’t take the steps to try to mitigate the possibility of spread,” said executive director Stacey Mayhall.
In addition to stopping the spread, knowing whether you are positive sooner rather than later can allow for a better quality of life.
“HIV is not a death sentence that it used to be,” said Riess.
“There have been advances in testing and medication and people can live long, healthy lives living with HIV.”
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