FDRHPO/SMC/Fort Drum MEDDAC Release Joint Statement About COVID Vaccine for Pregnant, Breastfeeding Women

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LOCAL OB/GYN MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS ISSUE JOINT STATEMENT RECOMMENDING COVID-19 VACCINE FOR PREGNANT AND BREASTFEEDING WOMEN
Statement Echoes National Obstetric Associations’ Assertion that the Vaccine is Safe & Effective

WATERTOWN, NY, October 26, 2021 — Today, Samaritan Medical Center and the Fort Drum OB/GYN clinic jointly voice their recommendation that individuals across all reproductive stages—including those who would like to get pregnant, are currently pregnant, or are breastfeeding—get the COVID-19 vaccination to help protect themselves and their loved ones.

Dr. John P. Barrett, MD, an Obstetrician and Gynecologist at Samaritan Medical Center, has this message: “As an OB/GYN in our community, I know that you, like many women, may be fearful of the unknown and about introducing the vaccine into your body while you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding. I feel compelled to step forward to reassure you that the COVID-19 vaccination is safe and highly recommended to help prevent you, your baby, and others around you from getting this virus.”

The Fort Drum OB/GYN Department echoes Dr. Barrett’s comments, stating: “Our department supports the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and the Center for Disease Control recommendation that pregnant and breastfeeding women receive the COVID-19 vaccination to help prevent severe illness and death.”

“The data from ongoing studies show there is no increased risk to the mother or the fetus from the vaccine.  We know that the vaccine is extremely effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and maternal death.  We also know that the current variants of the COVID-19 virus are more harmful to the pregnant woman and her unborn infant.  We have seen severe illness in our local pregnant population and across the Army in seemingly healthy women.”

“We understand the difficult decision that new mothers must make regarding whether to vaccinate in this unprecedented pandemic. A lot of conflicting information can make the decision to vaccinate even more difficult.  We urge the patients we serve to discuss your concerns and questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and the virus with our clinic providers who can provide you with the most up-to-date information.”

Dr. Barrett goes on to state that the statements issued by at least twenty-seven national obstetric, gynecologic, and other healthcare associations in support of the COVID-19 vaccination across the reproductive cycle “reflects evidence demonstrating the safe use of the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy from tens of thousands of reporting individuals over the last several months.”

“Data has shown that getting the COVID-19 virus puts pregnant women and their newborns at increased risk of severe complications and even death,” cautioned Dr. Barrett. “Pregnant women who have decided to wait until after delivery to be vaccinated may be inadvertently exposing themselves and their babies to an increased risk of severe illness or death.”

Dr. Barrett concludes by stating: “As an OB/GYN provider, I have witnessed first-hand pregnant patients giving birth while fighting COVID-19. As their doctor, it is scary and worrisome. I recognize that getting the vaccine IS an individual choice, and I firmly believe that choosing to get vaccinated is in your best interests and the best interests of your baby. Given the known safety of the vaccine, as well as the increased risk of severe complications from COVID-19 during pregnancy, the worst being death, I wholeheartedly echo ACOG, SMFH, and others in enthusiastically recommending vaccination. Do it for yourself and your baby.”

Individuals who have questions about the COVID-19 vaccination and their reproductive health are urged to speak with their OB/GYN provider. Furthermore, Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization, in partnership with local healthcare providers, is now offering a webform service called “Ask a Doc,” in which individuals may submit their question(s) about the COVID-19 vaccine using a simple online form. The questions are not limited to those regarding reproductive health or pregnancy. Local medical professionals will call individuals within 1-2 business days to answer their question(s). Click HERE to view the form and submit your questions.

For more information about where to get the COVID-19 vaccine, contact your local public health agency or visit https://www.vaccines.gov/search/.

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About the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization

The Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO) works to strengthen the system for health for the integrated Fort Drum and civilian community through analysis, identification of needs and leveraging of resources to fill gaps through innovation and collaboration. For more about FDRHPO, visit www.fdrhpo.org.

About Fort Drum Medical Department Activity (MEDDAC)

The U.S. Army Medical Department Activity (MEDDAC) – Fort Drum is the Fort Drum community and 10th Mountain Division’s first choice for health readiness, providing medical services and healthcare management to more than 42,000 Soldiers, family members, retirees, federal civilians, and Soldiers for Life.

About Samaritan Medical Center

Samaritan Medical Center (Watertown, New York) is a 290-bed not-for-profit community medical center, offering a full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services. From primary and emergency care to highly specialized medical and surgical services, such as cancer treatment, neonatal intensive care, behavioral health and addiction services, and imaging services, Samaritan Medical Center and its team of healthcare professionals proudly serves the medical needs of our civilian and military community. Quality, compassion, and safety are the basic principles by which exceptional care is delivered at Samaritan.