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    Compassionate Caring with COVID Vax Commitment

    Compassionate Caring with COVID Vax Commitment

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | Caring with a COVID vaccine commitment… As an expectant mother with a due date in...... read more read more

    When pregnant patients have an appointment with Lt. Cmdr. Megan Northup at Naval Hospital Bremerton, they get more than a qualified and caring OB/GYN physician.

    They also get someone who mirrors their own condition.

    As an expectant mother with a due date in early December, Northup has personally practiced what she professionally preaches with her patients to ensure a safe birthing process.

    Part of her compassionate commitment to her patients - as well as to herself - includes educating them on the COVID vaccine, which she strongly advocates. Northup received – with no misgivings - her initial dose when it was initially offered for front line healthcare workers in late December, 2020.

    “I knew that it was the best thing that I could arm myself with to protect against infection, especially since we were seeing COVID positive patients coming into Labor and Delivery and had to provide care for them even while they were infectious. We couldn't cancel their delivery and wait until they were no longer contagious like surgeons could do with surgeries or other physicians could do with clinic appointments. I am grateful for masks and personal protective equipment that was the outer barrier against the virus. But I also wanted to be able to give my immune system the advanced copy of the instruction manual on how to fight the virus before it ever entered my system,” said Northup, a Shawnee, Kansas native with over eight years in the Navy who arrived at NHB in June, 2021.

    Northup has used herself as an example on the importance of getting vaccinated to those hesitant.

    “When I feel it is appropriate and sense that there is fear about the unknowns of the vaccine versus the virus, sometimes I do share that if I wasn't already vaccinated, I would be getting the vaccine immediately,” Northrup said, adding that she considers it the best thing she could do protect herself and her baby from this virus.

    “I know that the mechanism of the vaccine is safe in pregnancy and all the data so far says that it provides far more protection to the pregnant patient than any potential risk of harm. I felt completely comfortable getting it while pregnant. In fact I would want it while pregnant and wouldn't want to wait because the best opportunity to boost my baby's immune system against this virus is if my body can make the antibodies and give them to the baby across the placenta,” said Northup.

    “Sometimes as a physician, I can tell when a patient isn't going to be receptive to anything I say about the vaccine or its importance in pregnancy,” continued Northup. “With those patients I try to keep my personal pregnancy out of the picture because then I want to focus the conversation on the safety of the vaccine and the risks of not getting the vaccine and not what I would do.”

    Northup affirms that there a central theme of those not vaccinated that she has found herself trying to correct and clarify.

    “There is a lot of fear and misinformation that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately patients only know what they read on the internet or hear on the waterfront. And internet search algorithms don't always give you the best medical information. When I have patients hesitant about the vaccine, I try to find out what their concerns are and address those,” stated Northup.

    One such notion Northup has witnessed is that some patients simply do not truly understand how the vaccine works.

    “People think that the vaccine will go to the baby through the placenta or the breastmilk. That is completely false. The vaccine particles, which aren't even pieces of the virus, but just pieces of code that tell the human body to make a protein that looks like the virus, stay localized around the injection site and are broken down within hours to days once the body has started to create the immune response. It is the maternal immune response in the form of antibodies that goes to the baby through the placenta and the breastmilk. This is actually a good thing. It gives the baby an element of natural protection against early exposure to the virus,” explained Northup.

    Another issue patients share with Northup is the lack of pregnant women in the clinical trials.

    “While this is true, thousands of women have gotten the vaccine under the emergency use authorization and have been monitored after vaccination for complications and adverse effects,” remarked Northup. “All the data from all the monitoring systems is showing that it is safe in pregnancy.”

    Simply put, says Northrup, the virus efficacy against a highly contagious viral infection is a game-changer for expectant mothers.

    “What we do know is that pregnant women are at increased risk of many complications in pregnancy if they actually get the COVID virus. Some women are lucky and only have mild symptoms, but other unvaccinated pregnant women are not so lucky as we have seen by the recent reports of maternal ICU admissions, breathing machine requirements, emergency C-sections, and maternal, fetal or neonatal deaths due this virus,” Northup said.

    Another common theme Northups hears is that this is a new vaccine without long term safety data.

    “While this is true, there are no historical reports of other inactivated vaccines having long term safety concerns. Additionally I also challenge them, asking if they know the long term safety data of everything else they put on or in their body, their energy drinks, tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, work out supplements, the latest and greatest beauty products, etc. Then I ask them why this vaccine is any different than those things,” said Northup.



    Date Taken: 10.04.2021
    Date Posted: 10.04.2021 11:20
    Story ID: 406640
    Location: BREMERTON, WA, US

    Web Views: 1,281
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