2021

Dr. Laura Erdman joined Fox 45 News to clear up concerns about pregnant women getting the Covid vaccine.

“It is as urgent as it can be for pregnant women to get their Covid vaccine,” said Dr. Laura Erdman, MD, OB-GYN with Capital Women’s Care at GBMC. “The reason why it’s so urgent is because we are seeing now, after a year and a half of being in this pandemic, that our patients who are pregnant, if they do get Covid, they do get sicker than women who are not pregnant,” she added.

Dr. Erdman compared the level of sickness to the Flu, which in pregnant women adds another risk factor as far as needing a stay in the hospital to be treated. With Covid that also includes a high risk of death, according to doctors.

When it comes to concerns about how the vaccine could affect a pregnant woman and her baby, Dr Erdman says, “I have the utmost confidence in our regulatory organizations the FDA and the CDC.”

She said while the vaccine is new, it’s new because this virus is new, however the research and the science behind the vaccine is not new. “We, the broader medical community, has been researching MRNA and it’s use in vaccines since about 2012,” Dr. Erdman said.

Dr. Erdman said she has not seen any fertility issues when it comes to the Covid vaccine. She encourages everybody to get the Covid vaccine as soon as they can.

More Information:
Watch the video on the Fox 45 News website.

Healio (9/30, Schaffer) reports, “Menopausal hormone therapy is safe and effective for many women experiencing bothersome symptoms like hot flashes, but treatment should be individualized for people with certain risk factors, according to” a plenary presentation given at the North American Menopause Society annual meeting by Juliana M. Kling, MD, MPH, NCMP, FACP, associate professor of medicine and chair of the division of women’s health internal medicine at Mayo Clinic Arizona. Dr. Kling said, “Understanding the risks and benefits of HT by organ and system will allow us to counsel our patients appropriately.” She added, “Overall, the benefits of HT in healthy, symptomatic women generally outweigh the risk under age 60 years for most women.”

The Hill (9/2, Castronuovo) reports the NIH “announced this week that it was awarding grants...to look into reports from some women of irregular or missing menstrual periods after getting vaccinated against COVID-19.” The agency “said that the awards...would help determine whether there is a connection between any reported menstrual cycle changes and the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines currently in use in the U.S.” The agency “said that some women have reported irregular or missing periods, heavier than normal bleeding and other menstrual changes.”

The Chicago Tribune (9/2, Stock) reports that while researchers have so far not established a link between the shots and abnormal menstruation, one researcher “said that it is ‘biologically feasible’ because of the way the shot generates an immune response in the body.”

Healthcare IT News (7/8, Jercich) reports research published online in the Journal of Medical Internet Research reveals that “virtual visits facilitate healthcare access and relationship-building, contributing to satisfying relationship-centered care, a crucial aspect of contemporary patient experiences.” Investigators arrived at that conclusion after surveying “426 adult patients with a virtual visit between June and July 2017 – notably, before the COVID-19 pandemic more broadly normalized telemedicine.” The study revealed that “the average overall satisfaction score was 4.4 out of 5, with about 82% of respondents saying their virtual visit was as good as an in-person visit with a clinician,” and “more than half of the respondents agreed that their virtual visit was better than an in-person one.”

Virtual visits are still available here at Capital Women's Care - Division 56/Charles Street OB/GYN!

Pregnant women who contract COVID-19 are more likely to have a severe infection, be hospitalized and need a ventilator, experts say. But as of last month, only 23% have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine during pregnancy, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

More Information:
Read the full article on the CBS News website.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all eligible persons, including pregnant and lactating individuals, receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series. Obstetrician-gynecologists and other women’s health care practitioners should lead by example by being vaccinated and encouraging eligible patients to be vaccinated as well.

More Information:
Read the full article on the ACOG website.

Forbes (7/29, Gordon) reports that a recent study published in Menopause has found that “the onset of menopause symptoms may begin earlier than previously understood.” The “global survey of women ages 35 to 55 investigated the experiences of women still getting monthly periods with only slight changes to menstrual cycle length or changes in flow compared to women with greater cycle changes. Approximately 1,500 survey respondents were categorized as being in either the late reproductive stage (LRS)...or the menopausal transition (MT) stage.” The “researchers compared how women in the LRS and MT stages experience symptoms typically associated with menopause, analyzing the type, frequency, and burden of symptoms experienced by each group.” And “the most surprising finding: Women in LRS and women in MT may be more similar than they are different.”

CNN (7/19, LaMotte) reports research indicates that “a habitual coffee habit was associated with a lower risk of developing an arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation.” Investigators arrived at this conclusion after analyzing “coffee consumption by more than 386,000 people over a three-year period,” then comparing “that with rates of cardiac arrhythmia, which might include atrial fibrillation.” After adjustment for confounding factors, researchers found that “each additional cup of habitual coffee consumed was associated with a 3% lower risk of incident arrhythmia.” The findings were published online in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Providing similar coverage are MedPage Today (7/19, Lou), HealthDay (7/19, Thompson), Cardiovascular Business (7/19, Vecchione), and Healio (7/19, Miller).

Healio (7/19, Buzby) reports, “Sleep loss caused a significant increase in 24-hour and sleep-time BP among healthy young adults, particularly women,” while “sleep restriction had no effect on any 24-hour BP outcome among men.” Investigators arrived at these conclusions in a study involving “20 healthy young participants (mean age, 23 years; nine women) to undergo a 16-day inpatient study.” The findings were published online in the journal Hypertension.

The Hill (7/19) reports on a study in which “researchers tested the human milk from seven individuals for signs of mRNA vaccines that the participants received.” Samples were collected “before vaccination and at intervals up to 48 hours following vaccination.” In the samples, the researchers “didn’t find any signs of vaccines.” That finding, adds The Hill, “suggests it is safe for individuals who are feeding infants with human milk to get vaccinated.” The findings were published in JAMA Pediatrics.

The New York Times (7/15, Stolberg, Alba) says that on Thursday, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy “used his first formal advisory to the United States to deliver a broadside against tech and social media companies, which he accused of not doing enough to stop the spread of dangerous health misinformation – especially about Covid-19.” He “declared such misinformation ‘an urgent threat to public health.’”

The AP (7/15, Klepper) reports that “in a 22-page advisory...Murthy wrote that bogus claims have led people to reject vaccines and public health advice on masks and social distancing, undermining efforts to end the coronavirus pandemic and putting lives at risk. ...’Limiting the spread of health misinformation is a moral and civic imperative that will require a whole-of-society effort,’ wrote Murthy.”

Reuters (7/15, Shalal, Oladipo) provides additional coverage.

Forbes (7/15, Mason) reports, “Despite there being no evidence of a link between Covid vaccines and infertility, experts have grown concerned that misinformation on the topic could lead to women refusing to take the vaccine,” which “is especially concerning as cases begin to rise in unvaccinated areas, often fueled by younger people who’ve been less likely to get the vaccine.” CCRM New York practice director Dr. Brian Levine said, “There is no major cautionary statement from any academic body – call it the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Endocrine Society, the American Medical Association – no one has been able to say that there are any untoward outcomes on anyone’s reproductive potential or reproductive future as a result of receiving the Covid-19 vaccine or the sequence of vaccines.”

Vaccines are key to moving forward from the pandemic and seeing your loved ones again. I have heard many questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, as a physician and public health official in Arizona.

More Information:
Read the full article on the ACOG website.

Dr. Mary Rosser talks vaccines, fertility, menstrual periods, and side effects in this article on the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website.

More Information:
Read the full article on the ACOG website.

HealthDay (7/6) reports, “Women who are breastfeeding and wonder if COVID-19 vaccination is safe for their baby may be reassured by the results of a new study.” Researchers found “that ‘vaccine-associated mRNA’ – the active components of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines – ‘was not detected in 13 milk samples collected 4 to 48 hours after vaccination from 7 breastfeeding individuals.’” And “while a larger trial is needed to fully confirm the results, the researchers say their findings ‘provide important early evidence to strengthen current recommendations that vaccine-related mRNA is not transferred to the infant,’ so moms don’t have to choose between COVID vaccination and breastfeeding.” The study was published in JAMA Pediatrics.