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COVID vaccination recommendation for pregnant and lactating individuals

A recent study by the University of Washington observed short-term reactions among pregnant and lactating individuals in the first wave of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. They found that vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are highly effective in preventing COVID-19 illness.
And research has found that COVID-19 infection is associated with adverse events in pregnancy and therefore recommends offering SARS-CoV-2 vaccines to pregnant and lactating individuals to combat adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Dr. Erica Crespi Honored as WSU Woman of the Year

Six CAS women were honored for their accomplishments, service, and commitment to student success at the 15th annual WSU Women of Distinction awards ceremonies this spring. Our own Dr. Erica Crespi is among these amazing women.

Erica Crespi
Woman of the Year

As an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences (SBS), 2021 Woman of the Year Erica Crespi is committed to excellence in research and teaching, but it’s her “commitment to promoting the success of diverse students,” her nomination letter said, that makes her truly exceptional. She is a tireless advocate for under-represented groups in the sciences – particularly women. She mentors and advises female students, co-advises the Scientista group, serves on the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, regularly speaks on panels about women in science, and recently secured a grant to support a maternal-child health collaborative that will bring together female researchers from across WSU.

In addition to her advocacy work, Crespi is an engaging teacher who received the Smith Teaching and Learning Award in 2017 and was inducted into the WSU Teaching Academy in 2020. She has had several projects funded by the National Science Foundation and recently received a $900K Murdock Trust grant to build an Aquatics Phenomics Research Center at WSU. “While there are many important women leaders at WSU,” her nomination letter read, “Erica is unique in that her leadership is changing the landscape of research at WSU for so many faculty while also innovating graduate and undergraduate training and education.”


Read the full article Here

Pandemic has increased pregnancy stress for U.S. women

New research from our collaborative and lead by Dr. Celestina Barbosa-Leiker has found a link between increased pregnancy stress and the pandemic.

“Key Takeaways

  • Many pregnant and postpartum women are engaging in unhealthy behaviors to cope with the stress of the pandemic—including drugs and alcohol.
  • Right now, marijuana is the number one substance for which women seek treatment during pregnancy.
  • The rise of telemedicine has created additional touchpoints for substance use treatment and prenatal care.”

Read more


““Pregnant women are really stressed about contracting COVID-19,” said lead author Celestina Barbosa-Leiker, vice chancellor for research at WSU Health Sciences Spokane. “They have a lot of questions for their health care providers. There’s a lot of we don’t know yet, which is understandable, but it’s especially stressful for the moms.””

Read more


“In the study, 52% of pregnant women and 49% of postpartum women worried about their babies contracting COVID-19, and 46% had sought extra information about COVID-19 protocols from the hospital where they had planned to deliver, or had delivered, their babies.”

You can read the full research article Here

What parents should know about COVID-19 vaccines and children

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of two COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is approved for people over 16, and the Moderna vaccine is approved for people over 18. While both vaccines have proven to be safe and effective in adults, the pediatric population is not yet eligible to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

In this Q&A, Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a Mayo Clinic pediatric infectious diseases physician, will answer some of the most common questions she’s hearing from parents when it comes to kids and COVID-19 vaccines.”

Mayo Clinic January 28th, 2021

Link Here

COVID Vaccine during pregnancy webinar

The University of Washington has a webinar this Friday, Jan. 29th at noon (Pacific time) about the COVID vaccine during pregnancy.

Topic: Let’s Talk About: Pregnancy & the COVID-19 Vaccine

Description: Vaccines for COVID-19 are here, but are they safe for pregnant women and the developing baby? From safety to timing to concerns in-between, get the inside scoop from maternal health experts so you can have peace of mind about these pandemic-ending shots.

Registration Link


Congratulations Danielle Spellacy!

Congratulations to second-year medical student Danielle Spellacy, who recently won Best Early Career Research Poster at the European Society for Prevention Science conference! Danielle presented the poster titled “Impactful social changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic in prenatal women” and shared the work she has been doing with our collaborative, the WSU COVID-19 Infant, Maternal and Family Health Collaborative.

Link to poster

Link to the media post


From Science Magazine: Prenatal cannabis exposure linked to cognitive deficits, altered behavior

“Regular cannabis exposure in rats during pregnancy may cause their offspring to have long-term cognitive deficiencies, asocial behavior, and anxiety later in adulthood.

That’s according to a new study by neuroscientists in Washington State University’s Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience unit that provides a rare look at the effects of using cannabis during pregnancy.

“The reality of cannabis research is there’s not a lot of it,” said Halle Weimar, first author on the paper and graduate student in the neuroscience program. “This research helps get information out to women so they can make an educated decision that is best for them.””

Link to Article

From the Lancet: Management of pregnant women infected with COVID-19

“Since December, 2019, the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which originated in Wuhan, China, has become a global public health threat.1 On Feb 28, 2020, WHO upgraded their assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of impact of COVID-19 to very high at global level. By March 10, 2020, 116 166 cases have been reported globally, causing 4088 deaths. The epidemic has spread to 118 countries around the world.2

With immunocompromised status and physiological adaptive changes during pregnancy, pregnant women could be more susceptible to COVID-19 infection than the general population. As COVID-19 is rapidly spreading, maternal management and fetal safety become a major concern, but there is scarce information of assessment and management of pregnant women infected with COVID-19, and the potential risk of vertical transmission is unclear. In The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Nan Yu and colleagues3 report the clinical features and obstetric and neonatal outcomes of pregnancy with COVID-19 pneumonia in Wuhan, China. The findings of the study provide some indications for clinical assessment and management of pregnant women with COVID-19, but questions remain on how to manage pregnant women infected with COVID-19.”

Link to Article