Harrisburg, PA – Thursday, First Lady Frances Wolf and Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson led a discussion about the COVID-19 vaccines and reproductive health during a Facebook Live event hosted by the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. The event, entitled Vax Facts for Pregnancy and Reproductive Health, is the second in a series aimed at providing relevant and accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines and addressing the questions of concerned citizens.
“Yesterday it was announced that 70% of adults in Pennsylvania have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and that is a great milestone,” First Lady Wolf said. “If we continue to have conversations like this where we bring credible information directly to Pennsylvanians, addressing their concerns like fertility and reproductive health, we will become stronger in protecting ourselves and each other against COVID-19. By educating ourselves with the facts and listening to our medical professionals, we equip ourselves with the education to make the best decisions for our health and the health of our families.”
The First Lady and Dr. Johnson were joined by medical professionals versed in reproductive health, women’s health, and pregnancy and fertility, to answer Pennsylvanians’ questions. The panel included:
- Catherine Domanska Elliott, BSN, MSN, RN, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner with Lancaster Maternal Fetal Medicine,
- Natalie Crouse, NP-C MSN, Senior Director of Clinical Operations at Adagio Health, and
- Dr. Samantha Butts, Chief, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Health
As thousands of pregnant women have already received the COVID-19 vaccines, there have been no reported issues. Pregnant women, however, are at higher risk for severe COVID illness, and the benefits of the vaccines are greater than the danger of getting the virus.
Dr. Johnson reassured Pennsylvanians who may be hesitant of the vaccines of their safety and effectiveness, including for pregnant women.
“COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, even for people who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant,” Dr. Johnson said. “These vaccines have gone through extensive protocols to be authorized under an emergency use authorization and will continue to be monitored to ensure they remain safe and effective. It’s important that we continue to get important vaccine information out to all Pennsylvanians, because good information leads to good decisions. Every person who chooses to get vaccinated brings us one step closer to moving past the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Additionally, Dr. Samantha Butts stated: “Current data support that available COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective and safe for individuals attempting to become pregnant to prevent serious illness associated with COVID-19 infection. To date, evidence does not demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccines negatively impact the fertility of women or men.”
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Catherine Domanska-Elliott reiterated the importance of directing Pennsylvanians, and all people, to reliable sources for information about the COVID vaccines.
“At this point, vaccine access isn’t the hurdle; access to bad information is,” she said. “Patients have concerns and questions, and it’s on us as medical professionals to ensure that we’re providing education so they can make the best choices for themselves.”
Natalie Crouse reaffirmed her commitment to ensuring women have access to adequate information and care. “Adagio Health has prioritized the health and safety of our frontline staff and patients during these unpredictable times,” she said. “We value our role in providing medical, nutritional and educational services to vulnerable populations and are now using that relationship to help connect members of these communities to the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. We applaud and support the work of First Lady Frances Wolf and Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson and I look forward to being a proactive voice for vaccination on the Commission for Women.”
The conversation recognized vaccine hesitancy among women of child-bearing age, as well as men, while highlighting evidence that claim the vaccine is safe. The panel also pointed to reliable sources of information and echoed the importance of seeking guidance from credible medical professionals.
Every Thursday, Vax Facts panel discussions will continue to dive into topics around the COVID-19 vaccine, specifically highlighting vaccine hesitancy and the communities that it effects most. The next conversation, co-moderated by Second Lady Gisele Fetterman and Dr. Johnson, will be held on Thursday, June 3, 2021 at 12 PM and will focus on vaccine concerns related to immigrant communities. More details from today’s event including the full video and information about the panelists can be found on Facebook.
This conversation will be available on PAcast.