WBASNY Urges Governor Hochul and NYS Health Commissioners to Clarify and Direct that Pregnant and Lactating Women in New York State Must Be Permitted to Receive COVID-19 Vaccinations

WBASNY Urges Governor Hochul and NYS Health Commissioners to Clarify and Direct that Pregnant and Lactating Women in New York State Must Be Permitted to Receive COVID-19 Vaccinations

(New York, NY, Tuesday, March 1, 2022) – In light of recent media reports that some pregnant women in New York State have been discouraged from receiving or outright refused Covid-19 vaccines from the earliest days the vaccine was available and presently, WBASNY calls on Governor Kathy Hochul and all state and local health commissioners to clarify and enforce the NYS policy  that ALL New Yorkers over the age of 5 are entitled to receive Covid-19 vaccinations and boosters, including all pregnant and lactating women.  Some vaccination centers have discouraged or denied vaccinations to pregnant or lactating women. This behavior not only denies such persons and their fetuses protections against Covid-19, but also discriminates against individuals on the basis of pregnancy. This practice undermines and denies personal autonomy and the right of bodily integrity to pregnant and lactating woman. Current health guidance recommends that pregnant and lactating women receive Covid-19 vaccinations to protect themselves and because it provides some level of protection to the fetus.  No permission is required from treating physicians prior to receiving the Covid-19 vaccine or booster.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) has unequivocally recommended since December 2020 that all eligible persons aged 12 years and older, including  pregnant and lactating women can receive a Covid-19 vaccine or vaccine series.  The Centers for Disease Control also issued a strong recommendation that pregnant individuals receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Clinical data has shown that pregnant women are at a higher risk for severe disease if they contract Covid-19.  Any practice or policy that denies pregnant individuals a Covid-19 vaccine or booster puts the pregnant individual at great risk of severe disease. In addition, some Doctors have opined that contracting Covid-19 is worse for pregnant women than any vaccine side effects.

WBASNY urges the Governor and all health commissioners to make New York’s policy clear that vaccine sites, clinics, physicians or groups shall not discourage or deny a Covid-19 vaccine or booster to a pregnant or lactating woman in the State of New York.

3 CDC, Covid-19 Booster Shots updated February 2, 2022.

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The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) is the professional membership organization of choice for more than 4,000 attorneys throughout New York State, and the largest statewide women’s bar association in the country.  For four decades, WBASNY has been a singularly important resource for women lawyers, with professional networking, continuing legal education programming, leadership training, and advocacy for the rights of women, children, and families.  Through involvement with WBASNY’s 20 regional chapters and its 40-plus substantive law committees, WBASNY’s members collaborate with one another on a variety of issues and perform public and community service, in furtherance of its mission to promote the advancement of the status of women in society and women in the legal profession; to promote the fair and equal administration of justice; and to act as a unified voice for its members with respect to issues of statewide, national and international significance to women generally and women attorneys in particular. WBASNY holds United Nations NGO status with the U.N.’s Department of Public Information, and Special Consultative status in association with the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). WBASNY is also a founding member of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.