Monday, a federal judge ruled against the federal mask requirement on public transportation, even as health officials continue to recommend precautions like masking and vaccination to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
This week reporter Feven Gerezgiher speaks with three women about their experiences with the COVID vaccine and shares some of the recommendations for new mothers and pregnant people.
On one warm, sunny Saturday earlier this month, I crashed a community baby shower. It was at the Lake Street building of the Division of Indian Work who partnered with the Native American Community Clinic to celebrate and offer resources for new and expecting parents.
Health officials have been emphasizing vaccination for pregnant or lactating people as well as people who might become pregnant.
I was curious so I connected with a few different attendees…. How did they feel about the COVID-19 vaccine? Why was that? And did they end up getting it?
Here’s Rose Gonzalez.
My name is Rose Gonzalez. I live here in Minneapolis and I am from Bois Forte…I’m 37 weeks pregnant so I just wanted to see what they had here.
Rose made sure to get herself and older children vaccinated after her youngest daughter caught Covid last year.
So since she got covid, when she was 4 months old, and I just feel like ever since then her lungs aren’t as strong as they should be, I don’t know if that’s like a long-term side effect from having covid. But in August, she was in Children’s Hospital hospitalized with RSV and I feel like that might be like connected to when she had covid so little.
…I’m still breastfeeding and I was still breastfeeding when I got the first dose. And then right before receiving like the first dose of it, I had read an article about like a breastfeeding mom dying and then another article where the baby had died like a few days later after the mom received the vaccine, but I think that was my only concern, but I talked to the doctors and all that.
So if it’s safe for pregnant women, I was like, there’s – it was concerning, but it was probably just either a coincidence or they had underlying issues which I don’t have so.
Rosa Rojas of Leech Lake came to the baby shower with her seven month old baby. She said she has not been vaccinated.
I just didn’t want to get it. I don’t know. Just the rumors, like a lot of people got sick, like worse than – because I’ve had Covid before when I was pregnant and it was bad and like I’ve seen one person and they were worse than me and they had both vaccinations so.
Rosa told me she is skeptical of the vaccine’s effectiveness and does not plan to get it. She hopes vaccinations are not mandated.
I spoke with another expecting mother who is also unsure about the vaccine.
My name is J.B. English, and I’m a tribal member of Red Lake.
I was in county jail for a couple of weeks. And of course, they do the quarantine thing there and everything else, but I really I had a personal like belief against getting vaccinated just on my own, you know, whatever research or findings and whatnot plus, my baby’s dad and this and that. You know, my daughter had COVID and I was like kissing her on the mouth and stuff, and I never had gotten it. So I just like, okay, maybe I don’t think I can get it.
J.B. got the vaccine after she entered an inpatient treatment facility and visited a pre-natal health clinic.
They basically made me feel like, forced almost in a sense like I had no choice like I wasn’t gonna be able to move on to the next place like my outpatient facility and continue on my journey for sobriety or that I wasn’t able to have my baby. Kind of like basically, scared me into doing it. So I did it. And you know, I got sick for like two days and then yeah, that was that. But I just was like I didn’t want to but they made me feel like I had to.
The Minnesota Department of Health strongly encourages past, present, and future pregnant people get vaccinated. They note no evidence that vaccines cause infertility and say the benefits of vaccination for people and their child outweigh known or potential risks.
Feven Gerezgiher reporting for Minnesota Native News.
CDC resources pregnant and recently pregnant:: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pregnancy/index.html
CDC tool kit for pregnant and recently pregnant: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/toolkits/pregnant-people-and-new-parents.html
Vaccine rates among pregnant people: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#pregnancy-data