CDC Updates Guidelines On Getting COVID-19 Vaccine While Pregnant or Breastfeeding

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The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has updated the guidelines for getting a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding amid reports that these contain "toxic" spike proteins which could get into the bloodstream or breastmilk and passed onto the babies.

The agency believes that vaccination is still recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding moms to prevent severe COVID-19 infection. Based on how vaccines work, the CDC said that these are unlikely to trigger a dangerous side effect on mothers and their children.

However, the CDC also said that data regarding the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding is limited. The center updated its guidelines to state that clinical trials for pregnant or breastfeeding moms are either "underway or planned" with various vaccine manufacturers.

Read: Pregnant Doctor Explains Reason Why She's Getting the COVID Vaccine

The CDC also revealed that vaccine studies on pregnant animals and their babies resulted in no safety concerns. The test subjects received three brands of vaccines: Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.

mRNA Vaccines a Big Mistake?

It comes as a virus immunologist in Canada sounded off an alarm to suggest that experts might have made a mistake with the spike proteins in mRNA vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer. Byram Bridle of University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College said in a radio interview that while spike proteins target antigen to kill the virus, it's also a pathogenic protein.

Bridle's statements were picked up by various anti-vaccine organizations across the globe. However, many experts have debunked his claims saying that there is no data suggesting spike proteins are toxic. Other scientists also said that Bridle might have misinterpreted recently published studies on vaccines.

Jason McLellan, a biologist at the University of Texas at Austin said that Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson have encoded spike proteins that are "tethered to the surface of the cell."

"It is not secreted and thus does not float through the body," he added.

The CDC also stated that Moderna and Pfizer vaccines cannot enter the cells, which means it doesn't flow through the bloodstream. On the other hand, the Johnson & Johnson is a viral vector vaccine that delivers instructions to the cells in the body. In other parts of the world, many pregnant women have been inoculated with this vaccine without any negative outcomes to the mother or the baby.

Discuss Options with Your Doctor

Mothers planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding are advised to discuss their options with their health care provider to be better informed. The CDC said that getting a jab is still a personal choice but having discussions with a doctor could help with their decision.

Related Article: COVID Vaccine During Pregnancy Does Not Lead to Infertility, Says Doctors

Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health announced that it will begin the MOMI-VAX trial involving pregnant and postpartum mothers given the lack of large-scale studies in this area. NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. said that this trial will fill the gaps on getting a vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding. The trial will be conducted across 20 clinical research sites in the U.S. for 12 months.

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