I’m curious about data and safety with the new Omicron-geared COVID booster. Is it just as safe and/or the same as the original vaccine was for pregnant people? Or is there anything new/different to consider with it? Specifically, I’m at the end of my second trimester and need to get a booster shot, since my previous one was nearly a year ago.—Meg, a slightly nervous but very pro-vaccine first-time mom
There has been a lot of chatter about the new version — was it properly tested? etc., etc. The technology for it was extensively tested in the first vaccine. The booster is exactly the same setup, just a slightly different spike protein. The best way to think about it may be like a reformulated flu vaccine. Every year, they make a different flu vaccine to match a slightly different flu virus. Same idea here — slightly different vaccines to match a slightly different variant.
Consistent with this, we haven’t seen any reports of new issues cropping up with the bivalent booster. The side effects are similar to what we’ve seen so far with the vaccines: a day or two of fever, fatigue, and arm soreness.
The value to boosting now is as much for the baby as for you. Your own risk of serious illness is still very low as a result of your prior vaccines. But ramping up antibodies in this period toward the end of the second trimester is a great way to get added protection for your infant in those first six months before they can be vaccinated.