Pregnant clinical pharmacist hopes to stop vaccine hesitancy for expecting parents

Kansas

WICHITA (KSNW) — Research shows some pregnant women have been hesitant toward the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC released a study in May saying only 11% of pregnant women were fully vaccinated.

Tai Elders, PhD. is a clinical pharmacist at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis. She found out she was pregnant days after receiving her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Elders says her pregnancy is a blessing that was preceded by more than a year of heartbreak.

“Obviously, a miscarriage is hard for multiple reasons and a very emotional process. We’ve had six. So initially, when the vaccines came out, there was a lot of misinformation being about the vaccines affecting fertility, so naturally, I was concerned about that,” Elders explained.

As a clinical pharmacist, research is a major part of Elders’ everyday life, so she began to dig into the vaccine.

“One of the first things I read was the submission to the FDA that Pfizer submitted. After reading that, I felt very comfortable with its safety and effectiveness. I further went to The Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who also has a fairly strong recommendation for pregnant women to get vaccinated.”

Now, Elders is vaccinated, 29 weeks pregnant, and still working in the emergency room at St. Francis.

“I will say, I feel a lot safer coming to work and knowing that I am vaccinated,” she said. “It was definitely scary working here and in the ICUs before we were vaccinated. I was constantly worrying if I was going to get sick and get my family sick, those that don’t have any protection at all.”

She says studies show benefits from the vaccine for her and her baby.

“There’s more and more data coming out looking at women who receive the vaccine while they are pregnant, and they are finding that those babies are born with antibodies from the vaccine,” Elders said. “I don’t think they know how long that protection lasts yet, but it is definitely is exciting, very exciting to know they should have some protection at birth.”

Elders says her next step is to get a booster shot before delivering in November, so the baby will have more antibodies and the antibodies that would be given to her child through breastfeeding.

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