A Riverina doctor is urging expectant mothers and women trying to conceive to come forward for the COVID-19 vaccination and reduce their risk of serious illness or hospitalisation.
Dr Trixie Rasmuson, Monash IVF's Clinical Director for Albury and Wagga, said there is still quite a lot of misinformation and anxiety towards the vaccine from a fertility perspective.
"[Getting vaccinated] is the safest alternative, rather than getting COVID and not being vaccinated while pregnant," she said.
Dr Rasmuson assured that there is "no evidence whatsoever" that the COVID jab affects fertility, and that anyone concerned should seek medical advice.
"In some cases, patients are so concerned they're contacting us to ask whether they need to freeze their eggs before vaccination," she said, with others thinking they need to avoid the jab altogether.
Dr Rasmuson said she would be much more concerned about pregnant women catching COVID than getting the vaccine, because pregnant women who catch the virus are 5x more likely to be admitted into hospital, 3x more likely to be admitted to the ICU, and 3x more likely to need a ventilator.
This is because people's immune system's are suppressed in pregnancy so it can foster another human being, she explained.
"The infection, which can be serious anyway, tends to be even more serious in pregnant women," Dr Rasmuson said.
"Not only is she herself going to get sick, but there's an increased risk of her baby also being sick, being born early [or] needing neonatal support early in life."
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Dr Ayman Shenouda, who runs the COVID-19 vaccination hub at Glenrock Country Practice, said that many pregnant women have been coming forward to get vaccinated.
"It's very important [they are vaccinated] because the pregnancy is putting a lot of stress on their body in general, and what we ned to do is minimise that stress," he said, with COVID causing a lot of stress to the body if caught.
"It's good to get vaccinated and protect herself and protect the baby."
"The reality is though, that COVID is out," she said, urging women to step forward and get the shot to protect themselves and their babies from illness.
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