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Why Dr. Amanda Westlake Took Her #BestShot

"I see the COVID-19 vaccines as a medical miracle— for myself and my family."

I see the COVID-19 vaccines as a medical miracle and astoundingly effective and safe. They are our only way out of the darkness we have all been living in for the past year. We will only be able to restore the life we are longing to go back to, though, if we all get vaccinated.

As both a physician and a pregnant woman, I am very aware there has been a lot of attention paid to the fact we don't have much data on the safety of the vaccine in pregnant women. However, there is no medical reason to suspect the vaccine would be either unsafe or less effective in pregnant women. The CDC is collecting information in real time about the safety of the vaccine in pregnant women through the V-Safe program. The results have been reassuring. For me, since we know pregnant woman have an increased risk for getting a severe case of COVID-19, the benefits of the vaccine strongly outweigh any risks.

I trust the COVID vaccines. Some people question the speed at which they are being developed but keep in mind that although the technology that brought us the mRNA vaccines hadn’t been used before to produce a vaccine on this scale, it had been in development for over a decade. The unprecedented urgency to have a vaccine brought together brilliant scientific minds from all over the globe and technological advances made it possible for these mRNA vaccines to be produced faster than vaccines made from older techniques.

When it was my turn to get the vaccine, I felt like I’d won the lottery—for myself and my family. Like most others, I had just a sore arm after the first dose but felt pretty bad after the second dose. I was in bed with a fever for 24 hours after my second dose. I first congratulated myself—because symptoms like fever and muscle aches are evidence that the immune system is working correctly—and then took Tylenol and queued up some good shows on Netflix!

Learn more and prepare to get the vaccine. 

– Dr. Amanda Westlake, Physician at Baystate Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School - Baystate