Doctors urge pregnant women in Hawaii to get vaccinated during COVID surge


HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Excited about her growing ohana, 36-year-old Jennifer Elia is seven months pregnant and expecting her second boy in November.

After talking to her doctor and researching credible studies, she got the COVID vaccine during her baby’s first trimester.

“It’s definitely a relief to be vaccinated given the community spread right now,” said Elia.

Amid an ongoing COVID surge, Hawaii doctors are urging pregnant women to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their unborn babies.

The latest CDC figures show just 16% of pregnant women in the US are vaccinated.

Dr. Dena Towner, of Kapiolani Medical Center, said the vaccine is safe during pregnancy and prevents “adverse outcomes for the moms.”

She says there is no data or history of vaccines increasing miscarriage.

The vaccine, she added, doesn’t go directly to the baby.

“It doesn’t cross the placenta. It doesn’t get into breast milk. It does its job and starts you making antibodies,” said Towner.

Those antibodies can help the baby with what’s called passive immunity.

“So they will be resistant to the infection for the first six months of life,” said Towner.

Elia says she felt fatigue and nausea for a day after the second dose of the COVID vaccine, but that her pregnancy has been normal.

“Everything is normal. I did the genetic testing because I’m a little bit older and everything was normal on the genetic testing. Everything was normal on the ultrasound,” she said.

She added she’s confident in her decision, but says there is still one major issue she’s unsure about: She’s doesn’t have a list of possible baby names yet.

“I just don’t have a lot of ideas,” she said, with a laugh.

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