Nurse urges pregnant women to vaccinate after losing child due to COVID complications

Vanessa Alfermann, a Missouri nurse who contracted COVID-19 last fall while pregnant and ultimately lost her baby boy, Axel, at 22 weeks, appeared on Anderson Cooper 360 Tuesday to urge pregnant women, and others, to get vaccinated.

Alfermann got sick soon after her husband tested positive, and everything was fine for the first couple of days before taking a turn for the worse.

“I started getting weird back pains and front pains,” Alfermann said. “So I went to the local OB, and, you know, they sent me home, said it was a side effect of COVID. They didn't check me or anything. Then that night they sent me home because at that point I was stable.”

Alfermann said she started getting some bleeding that night, and began feeling more pain. But it wasn’t until the next morning when she woke up around 1:30 a.m. and realized she was in labor and went to the hospital.

“I wasn't really saying what I thought was gonna happen, but I knew,” Alfermann said. “We got to the hospital and they checked me out, and they said, ‘We gotta get you upstairs now. You have membranes showing.’ So, I mean, they rushed me upstairs and at that point they realized I was fully dilated. My bag was protruding and Axel was coming no matter what.”

That was in November of last year, just a month before Alfermann was able to get vaccinated. After getting the vaccine, she posted on Facebook saying she did so to protect others, ending the post saying, “Every person deserves to not lose someone to COVID. This is for my Axel!!”

Alfermann said that day was incredibly difficult.

“It was a very emotional day, you know? I was working a 12-hour shift that day, so I just went upstairs in the bathroom and just cried,” Alfermann said, “because I thought, ‘Man, if this was last month, I would not be in the situation I am.’ So very bittersweet to get that vaccine. But, you know, it was too late for my story.”

Alfermann said she would have gotten vaccinated last fall if it was available, even before the Pfizer vaccine was granted full FDA approval. Now she’s urging others to do so in hopes they can avoid the same fate.

“These vaccines are here. And I’m not pushing the mandate,” Alfermann said. “I’m pushing people to talk to their doctor, to talk to medical professionals. Do not do this hearsay or all this stuff that gets spread so easily when it's not really the medical facts, because these lies are killing people.”

Anderson Cooper 360 airs weeknights at 8 p.m. on CNN.

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