AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — OBGYN Dr. Elana Tal is expecting the birth of her baby girl in about a week. When she sees patients she tells them the Covid-19 vaccine is safe, but some are still holding out on rolling up their sleeves.

“I’ve heard patients say… ‘I’ve done my research’ ‘ I’m drinking green tea’, which of course there’s no data that supports that drinking green tea protects you from covid. So, mostly it’s these kind of home remedies,” said Tal, who is the clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “It’s not even that people don’t think covid is a risk, it’s that everyone is making their own risk-benefit choice, but when they’re making that with bad information.”

Like the information on some websites, apps and community forums.

“It’s been really, really frustrating talking to people who are so taken by the misinformation and decline to get vaccinated,” she said.

The New York State Department of Health told News 4 today, they don’t collect data on the pregnancy status of those who get inoculated against covid.

However, the CDC says about 31 percent of pregnant women in the nation have been vaccinated against covid. The rates fluctuate among ethnic lines. Forty-five percent of pregnant Asians, 25 percent of Latinos and 15.6 percent of African Americans have been vaccinated. Through the end of September, there have been more than 125,000 confirmed covid cases among pregnant women. 

“The thing about pregnancy is, naturally the body diminishes its immune response as a way to have a healthy pregnancy, so the body doesn’t attack the baby and things like that,” Tal said. “We see that across all infections, including the flu. Pregnant women are more likely to get sick when they get an infection, more than a non-pregnant person.”

Parents should remain vigilant even after the birth of their infant to limit exposure to the virus. 

The CDC recommends parents limit their infant’s exposure to visitors and others who do not live with them.   Also, make sure everyone ages five and older are vaccinated against the virus. 

“The most important thing we can do to protect infants and children under the age of five is for all the people around them to be vaccinated,” said University at Buffalo infectious disease expert Tim Murphy. “So, it’s really important. If parents, grandparents, others who want to see your baby, make sure they have the vaccine.”

And, and not just the covid vaccine, people who visit your baby should have completed their normal round of vaccines as well — like the whooping cough vaccine.

“Whooping cough, pertussis is especially important. In fact, women, who are pregnant and the people around the newborn baby should have an extra dose of the pertussis vaccine,” said Murphy.

Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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