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NEW ORLEANS — The COVID-19 vaccine is free and available to people twelve and older — including pregnant women. Our teaching doctor, Dr. Rachel explains why the vaccine can be the safest choice for mom and baby.

Getting the vaccine is now recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. But, some people may still be concerned.

Dr. Millika Doss is a mother who got the vaccine while she was pregnant and had a beautiful, healthy baby. But even she had her doubts.

“Initially, I was hesitant for the reasons that everybody else has been hesitant — you don’t know what the side effects are,” Doss explained. “There weren’t any trials showing safety in pregnant women. Obviously, we were concerned for the baby.”

“As all pregnant mothers in the third trimester, it’s hard to breathe as it is,” said Dr. Priya Sahu. “Our thought process was, ‘Okay, if she does happen to come down with COVID, we know it’s a respiratory illness. What would that do?'”

“After the first dose, I didn’t have any side effects later,” Doss added. “I didn’t feel under the weather. Of course, I had a little soreness in the arm, which is typical. I believe it was 2 weeks after the second vaccine. At that point, I had antibodies in my system.”

“Knowing that the antibodies can be transmitted through the breast milk, I wanted to be able to provide my baby with that immunity until she’s able to provide it for herself,” explained Doss.

Dr. Rachel: Are you letting unvaccinated people around your baby?

Doss: No.

Sahu: No, with what we know right now about the current Delta variant and how it spreads.

Doss: And how it is affecting children more than the initial COVID strain.

Dr. Rachel: Okay, you guys, let’s bring the star of the show out now!

Doss: This is Simhi Maya Sahu. She was born on March 7 at 7 pounds, 9 ounces.

If you don’t want to get vaccinated for yourself, consider doing IT for kids like Simhi.

Doss says she was initially going to wait until after having her baby to get vaccinated. She changed her mind after researching and speaking with her doctor.