A University of New Mexico (UNM) Hospital doctor is encouraging pregnant women to get vaccinated after witnessing what the virus is capable of doing to expectant moms and seeing the effects of the vaccine on herself.

A Frontline Doctor’s Vaccination Story

Dr. Brenna McGuire, an OBGYN at the hospital, was working on the front lines and 30 weeks pregnant when she got vaccinated for the novel coronavirus. And it’s a decision that not only spared her from the risks that come with the infection, but also benefited her baby.

McGuire’s move to get the vaccine came amid the New Mexico Department of Health’s report that about 1,400 pregnant women have been infected with COVID-19 in the state and two of them have died of the disease.

Since she was working on the front lines amid the pandemic, McGuire had seen what the virus could do to expectant moms. She noted that apart from getting sick, most moms were forced by their condition to deliver their babies early, posing some serious risks on their kids’ health.

“We were having women come in pregnant with COVID and they were very very sick. Some of those women had to be intubated, some of those women spent time in the ICU. Many of those women had to deliver their baby early, and so their babies faced all of the risks of NICU, and early delivery,” McGuire was quoted by KOB 4 as saying.

For McGuire and other health care experts, they consider getting infected with COVID-19 as something “riskier” than getting vaccinated. That is why she is all for the vaccination programs that have been launched all over the country.

“I made the choice personally because I reviewed the research, the literature, I wanted to protect myself because I had seen the severity of the disease in people who are pregnant, and I felt like I was at much higher risk and my baby was at much higher risk of poor outcomes if I got COVID, and I was exposed to COVID almost every day,” she said.

McGuire also highlighted the most important benefit the vaccines give to pregnant moms. According to her, the antibodies that are produced in the bodies of the pregnant moms can be passed to their babies through the placenta. She said that this process is like giving babies the vaccine against the deadly virus even before they are born.

“[T]here's you know limited studies right now looking at vaccines, especially in the infant population, and so there's really no, no opportunity for your young child to get vaccinated until they're older. And so this really serves as sort of the only way to pass COVID antibodies to your baby,” she added.

COVID Cases Surge In The South

Public health experts disclosed this weekend that COVID-19 hospitalizations in parts of the South have reached an all-time high amid the surge in cases in the country brought about by the Delta variant, as per CNN.

Data from Johns Hopkins University showed that the U.S. is now recording an average of 100,000 new cases every day, which is alarming considering that the last time the country witnessed the same figure was almost six months ago. As such, doctors are currently bracing for the worst possible scenario while also encouraging everyone to get fully vaccinated.

What The CDC Is Saying

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently upgraded its vaccination guidelines for pregnant and breastfeeding moms, saying that pregnant women can receive the vaccine to protect themselves from the severe manifestation of COVID-19.

According to the public health agency, since pregnant women are at an increased risk of suffering severe illness from COVID-19, they should get the vaccine shots to lower their risk of having adverse pregnancy outcomes.

The CDC also indicated that based on the information it has gathered on COVID vaccination during pregnancy, there are no safety concerns for the moms and their babies. Lactating moms can also receive the vaccine since some reports have shown that the antibodies can be passed from the mothers to their babies through breastmilk, the agency added.