Jacksonville doctor and new mom breaks down benefits of getting COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Expectant mothers have a lot of decisions to make before they give birth and meet their baby for the first time.

And now, because of the pandemic, one of those important decisions includes whether or not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Action News Jax’s Alicia Tarancon spoke with a UF Health doctor who just gave birth last month.

Dr. Jennifer Dolan, D.D.S., MPH, MHSA, told me there’s a lot of benefits that could come from getting the vaccine.

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She just gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Everette last month.

“He was 6 pounds 15 ounces and 19 and a half inches long. Super adorable. Very sweet. Good sleeper, so we’re very lucky,” said Dolan.

Action News Jax showed you back in December when the third-year resident got the COVID-19 vaccine at UF Health in Jacksonville.

She joined the hundreds of other health care workers getting vaccinated to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

She said she didn’t get any negative side effects, and neither did her baby.

While Dolan said it’s a personal choice, she’s urging other expectant mothers to consider getting the vaccine, as it’s now more widely available.

“There have been having multiple studies out showing that there have been antibodies present both in the umbilical cord blood, as well as in breast milk,” she said.

That means that women can possibly pass on those antibodies to their children while breastfeeding, and that can help protect babies against getting sick.

Dolan said the problem is some women who have not received the vaccine while pregnant have got more severe cases of COVID-19.

“That can lead to pre-term birth, among other things. And you know pre-term birth is associated with a lower birth weight, as well as issues with lung development and stuff like that,” she said.

QUICK LINKS: How to make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in the Jacksonville area

Dolan said since the vaccine isn’t available to children yet, knowing that her child is protected from COVID-19 gives her peace of mind.

“I’m very glad I had it. I’m very glad my child has some protection from this illness,” Dolan said.

And when it comes to which vaccine to get, Dolan said women should feel comfortable with any of the three vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration: Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

She also said if people have any questions or hesitations about the vaccine, it’s always important to talk to your doctor before getting it.