ARKANSAS, (KNWA/KFTA) — State health leaders are encouraging pregnant women to roll up their sleeves and get the COVID -19 vaccine.
Kate Gaffigan, a mother of two was adamant about waiting until after she gave birth to get the covid-19 shot but that all changed.
Gaffigan says being pregnant during the pandemic has been tough. She’s has seen one loved one after another gets sick from the coronavirus.
On August 1, the news was about her 61-year-old mother. She was not vaccinated.
Gaffigan says her mother was completely healthy and had no underlying issues. However, that did not keep her from getting extremely sick, ending up in the ICU, and losing her battle to COVID, four weeks later.
“It was just very unexpected, and obviously very hard to deal with… Once your mother dies or a close family member dies, it kind of shocks you into the reality of okay, maybe I don’t fully trust the vaccine but what’s that versus dying,” said Gaffigan.
She says within a week of her mom getting sick she went and got the vaccine, while 8 months pregnant.
Three weeks ago, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl, named Vivian.
Gaffigan says the CDC’s recommendation for pregnant women also helped her decision.
Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the ADH says the CDC’s data shows pregnant women are more at risk of getting severely sick or dying from COVID-19. She adds that a higher number of pregnant women are ending up in the hospital and the majority are not vaccinated.
The ADH says the vaccine is safe and effective for expecting moms. Adding the benefits of getting the COVID-19 shot outweighs the potential risks pregnant women face.
“I felt like it was my responsibility for my baby Vivian and my two-year-old… Like I have to be there for them. So, if taking the vaccine is going to increase my odds of staying here and staying safe then 100 percent,” said Gaffigan.
The ADH says if a pregnant woman gets vaccinated, the antibodies she makes can potentially pass onto the unborn baby and protect them as well from COVID-19.
Gaffigan says she ultimately did it for her family and is encouraging pregnant women to consider getting vaccinated.
Women who are pregnant should speak to their doctor about any concerns surrounding the vaccine.