May 10, 2021
At Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women®, our commitment to the safety and well-being of our patients remains our top priority, especially during this critical time. We are proud to be your choice for care and thank you for being part of our Texas Children’s family.
At this time, the Pfizer vaccine is only approved for people age 16 and older, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for those 18 and older. On May 10, the FDA expanded the emergency use authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to include people ages 12 to 15. State and Federal guidance requires us to wait for approval from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) prior to administering to individuals aged 12 to 15, and we anticipate that approval by late Wednesday, May 12. With that approval, Texas Children’s will begin safely administering the Pfizer vaccine to 12-15-year-olds.
Please see below for a list of frequently asked questions and resources. It’s important to note that information about COVID-19 changes rapidly and this page will be updated with the latest information as it becomes available.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I receive the vaccine?
- As vaccines are available, we will contact those who meet the State’s criteria, and in accordance with our equitable allocation framework, to schedule an appointment.
Which vaccine are you administering to patients?
- There are currently three vaccines whose manufacturers have received authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. for emergency use. The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people age 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older.
What should pregnant women consider when considering the COVID-19 vaccine?
- Current observations available suggest no significant differences in post-vaccination reactions in pregnant versus non-pregnant women. It appears that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) induce similar immunity in pregnant and breastfeeding women as in the non-pregnant population. We do not have similar studies yet for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Although more research is needed, these studies show promising evidence of potential passive immunity against the COVID-19 virus in newborns, either through placental transfer or breastfeeding after the mother receives the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.
Can those who are pregnant receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
The decision to receive the COVID-19 vaccine should be made with your provider about not only the vaccines risks and benefits, but your risk of getting moderate or severe disease if you were to remain unvaccinated and get infected with the virus. Recently, the American College of Obstetrician Gynecologists (ACOG) also updated its practice advisory to aid patients in evaluating the benefits and potential risks of the vaccines.
Since the offering of COVID-19 vaccines began in the U.S., the CDC V-SAFE app has reported that as of April 5, 2021 nearly 78,000 pregnant women have received a COVID-19 vaccine. To date, no safety signals as compared to non-pregnant people have been reported.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine affect fertility?
No. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain live virus, so the American Society for Reproductive Medicine says the vaccine is not thought to cause an increased risk of infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth or birth defects.
Misleading information on social media suggests the vaccine could cause an immune response to a spike protein on the COVID-19 virus’ surface, and this immune response could also attack similar proteins that make up the placenta. This incorrect information leads people to think this decreases fertility in women. Experts say the coronavirus spike and placental protein have almost nothing in common, making the vaccine very unlikely to trigger a reaction. There is no evidence that mRNA vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, cause the body to produce proteins that attack the placenta.
Also, Moderna presented early study information that showed no poor effects in animals on female reproduction, fetal or embryonic development or postnatal development.
While it may be possible for men who have COVID-19 to experience worsening underlying cardiovascular conditions, which could increase the risk of erectile dysfunction, more research in this area is needed. Since the COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19, it cannot cause erectile dysfunction in males.
What if I am nursing? Can the virus be transmitted to my infant or toddler through the vaccine?
- Because the vaccine does not contain a live virus, there is no virus to transmit with nursing.
Is there an increased miscarriage rate and/or risk?
- This is unknown at this time. However, it is felt that the benefits to the vaccine outweigh any possible small and still theoretical risks. In the Pfizer trial, the only women suffering miscarriage were in the placebo group. However, the data is simply not robust enough to make any conclusions.
Can I receive the vaccine if they I have symptoms of COVID-19?
- If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or are currently considered a close contact of someone with COVID-19, vaccination should be delayed until you have recovered from your illness and criteria is met for you to discontinue isolation.
Should I receive the vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?
- Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages vaccination regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Can my child also receive the vaccine at Texas Children’s?
- Currently, we will only administer the vaccine to our patients who meet the State’s vaccination criteria.
When will children younger than 16 be able to receive the vaccine?
- At this time, the Pfizer vaccine is only approved for people age 16 and older, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for those 18 and older, as the early clinical trials did not include children and younger teens. We are hopeful children and younger teens will be eligible in the future once additional safety and efficacy data is available.
- COVID-19 vaccines: Answering the big questions (December 14, 2020)
- Pregnancy, breastfeeding and the COVID-19 vaccine (December 23, 2020)
- Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine: Answering the big questions (March 5, 2021)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
In the News
- Pregnant women should get COVID-19 vaccine, US doctors say, despite conflicting international advice – CNN
- Progress in the fight against the coronavirus is coming, but Texas is a long way from herd immunity – Texas Tribune
- COVID-19 Vaccine experiences from around the US – The Wall Street Journal
- New COVID variants are going to ‘hit us pretty hard,’ says Dr. Peter Hotez – CNBC
- CDC supports in-person instruction, according to new research – NBC 2 KPRC
- COVID-19 vaccine trials didn't include pregnant women. So what should they do? – Houston Chronicle
- COVID-19 vaccine: What you need to know when you get the shot – The Wall Street Journal
- Let the failures of government vaccine distribution be a warning – Forbes
- 7 things parents need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine and kids – NBC 2 KPRC
- So you think your kid needs a COVID test – The New York Times