Pfizer begins COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial focused on pregnant women

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine, pregnant women are left to decide if and when they should take that step.

Those women include health care worker Lindsay Yoxheimer, who ultimately decided to get her shot. 

“I very quickly had to make that decision based on no data,” said Lindsay Yoxheimer, a nurse for UNC Health. 

However, that may not be the case for other pregnant women much longer. Pfizer announced a new clinical vaccine trial focuses on expectant mothers.

“Pregnant women are more likely to get severely ill, be in the ICU, on a ventilator, there is some suggestion that there’s even a higher risk of death in pregnancy from COVID,” said Dr. Brenna Hughes, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Duke Health. 

Hughes says she’s received mixed responses from pregnant women about taking the vaccine which is why she says this critical research could not have come at a better time. 

“We really need data to show that enough patients have been vaccinated and that we can ensure that it’s safe for them,” said Hughes.

Around 4,000 women 24 to 34 weeks along in their pregnancy will take part in the international study for up to 10 months. The first doses are being administered in the United States.

Pfizer stating they’re taking this step after seeing success in vaccinating other groups and to protect this and future generations saying in part: 

“It is critical that we develop a vaccine that is safe and effective for this population,” said William Gruber M.D., senior vice president of vaccine clinical research and development for Pfizer. 

The study will also follow babies for six months after they’re born to see if antibodies from the mother transfer to the infant. 

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