Current COVID19 policies and updates
The City of Chicago is recommending that Illinois residents, use this link www.zocdoc.com/vaccine to register for a vaccine appointments.
The Women’s Group of Northwestern requires masks for all people (patients, staff and outside vendors) entering our office, regardless of vaccinations, until further notice.
Thank you for your continued cooperation keeping everyone safe!
Physicians and Staff of The Women’s Group of Northwestern
COVID-19 vaccine booster
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant and recently pregnant people up to 6 weeks postpartum receive the new bivalent omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccine booster, as pregnant individuals are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection Researchers have identified that the vaccine is 99% effective at preventing hospitalization. Data shows that COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and effective when administered during pregnancy. We at The Women’s Group of Northwestern strongly encourage our pregnant patients to be vaccinated and boosted, including with the new bivalent omicron-specific booster.
Obstetrical Patients with Covid Symptoms
We recommend a telehealth visit and appropriately timed pcr testing for our pregnant patients with covid symptoms or covid exposure because the diagnosis of covid in pregnancy presents extra risks to the mother, the pregnancy and fetus. There are treatments and preventative measures that we would discuss at the visit. Even if you have done a telehealth visit previously, because covid information is continually evolving, we recommend a brief t/h visit to update you on any new information. Even mild symptoms may represent covid and a pcr test is more sensitive than a home or rapid test at detecting covid.
FEATURED CONTENT – CDC Recommends COVID-19 Vaccination for Pregnant Women
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued recommendations on the vaccination of pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant.
As of September 29th the CDC and the Illinois department of public health are urging pregnant women to be vaccinated against Covid 19, see the link below:
Updated 2/25/2022 – COVID UPDATE
As of 2/28/22 the state of Illinois and city of Chicago are removing their indoor mask mandates. Masks will still be required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in health care facilitlies, on public transportation, long term care facilities, day care settings, in other congregate settings, and where required by individual businesses or organizations.
For the safety & well-being of our patients, providers & staff, WGON is requiring anyone who is unvaccinated and has traveled to States and Territories on the Advisory https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/covid-19/home/emergency-travel-order.html. **This includes any visitor that a patient anticipates bringing for their Level 1 Ultrasound**
Important to keep in mind:
1. Anyone vaccinate or unvaccinated who is experiencing any symptoms of COVID (including usual cold or allergy symptoms) must call and speak to Nurse Triage prior to coming in for their appointment.
2. Anyone vaccinated or unvaccinated who have been exposed to someone who is COVID+ must call and speak to Nurse Triage prior to coming in for their appointment.
3. Anyone vaccinated or unvaccinated who travels internationally must have a negative pcr test 3-5 days after they return to the US before they can be seen in our office. In addition, unvaccinated people must quarantine for 14 days in addition to testing.
4. Anyone unvaccinated, who travels within the US must quarantine for 10 days prior to return to our office. This does not apply if they LIVE in WI, MI, or IN but does apply if they have traveled to those states but don’t live there.
5. UPDATED VISITOR POLICY (10/2022): “The Women’s Group of Northwestern adopted a no visitor policy in March of 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to preserve the health and safety of our patients, staff, and visitors. As result of declining COVID-19 cases, effective Monday, October 10th, 2022, WGON is very pleased to announce that we will be permitting one visitor over age the of 18 to accompany our patients to their visits. Visitors must be without covid symptoms or any illnesses. Patients, visitors, and staff are still required to wear a mask at all times in the WGON clinic. WGON understands the importance of loved ones being part of your healthcare journey, which is why WGON is extremely excited to bring this option back to our patients.”
Covid vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective in pregnant & lactating women. See the video below from the The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
1) What should I do if I am pregnant and having symptoms or have been exposed?
Call our office as soon as possible to schedule a telehealth appointment to discuss symptom management, preventative measures, possible covid treatments (which must be started within 5 days of symptom onset), and the timing of your visits.
Treatments available for high-risk individuals, including pregnant women, are monoclonal antibodies and Paxlovid. They have both been shown to decrease hospitalization, IUC admission, need for a ventilator and death by 90%.
2) What are your office’s recommendations regarding the covid vaccine?
We highly recommend vaccination for everyone that does not have a contraindication (severe allergy). For pregnant and lactating people, we along with American College of Gynecology and Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine now officially recommend COVID-19 vaccination and appropriate boosters at any stage of pregnancy. A completed up to date vaccine series is now considered 2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine with at least one booster or 1 dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine with at least one booster.
3) I am pregnant or breast feeding, should I get it?
Studies in pregnant patients have shown no safety concerns specific to pregnancy. The CDC, American College of Gynecology and Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine all strongly recommend the Covid 19 vaccine for pregnant, lactating individual and those wishing to conceive.
The vaccines do not pose a risk to mother or baby because they are not live vaccines. The mRNA and DNA in the vaccines is quickly degraded by normal cellular function. The known risks of Covid 19 disease in pregnancy far outweigh any potential risks of the vaccine.
While the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant women have an increased risk of severe illness, hospital admission, ICU admission, need for a ventilator, as well as an increased risk of death. In addition, increased risks of adverse pregnancy outcomes have been noted, including preeclampsia, preterm birth, growth issues and stillbirth.
Other factors to weigh when deciding to get the vaccine while pregnant include the level of covid 19 transmission in our community, your personal risk of exposure to covid, any additional health issues you may have that might increase your risk of severe covid illness (age, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc). Evidence shows that both pregnant and breast-feeding women who receive the vaccine, pass the antibodies that they make on to their infants (through the placenta or breast milk) and these antibodies have been shown to protect the baby from covid in their first 6 months of life.
The following are links to information from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine:
ACOG and SMFM guidelines for pregnant women:
4) I am eligible for vaccine. How do I sign up?
We are not able to order or administer the vaccine at this time.
You may sign up through the IDPH and Chicago websites:
Book COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Vaccine Appointments Online | Zocdoc
NM site with info on vaccination at NMH:
Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and the vaccination plan for Northwestern Medicine patients.
5) Which vaccine should I get?
For adults ages 18 years and older, the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) are preferred over Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine. You may get J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in some situations. If you have further questions speak to your provider at your next visit.
6) What if I can’t get the second dose on time?
The cdc recommends adhering to the schedule as closely as possible but if unable to do so (ie vaccine not available) you can get your second dose up to 4-8 weeks after the first.
7) What are the usual side effects?
Pain/swelling in your arm, fever/chills, headache, tiredness Ok to take Tylenol or ibuprofen. Pregnant women should take Tylenol to keep temperature under 100 degrees.
8) What if I have allergies?
If you have had a severe allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine (there is a list on the CDC’s website) or had an allergic reaction to the first vaccine, do not proceed with vaccination, without first speaking with your primary doctor.
A severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis which includes swollen throat or tongue, difficulty breathing, or hives.
If you have a had a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable medications, you may still elect to receive the vaccine after consideration of the risks. You may wish to discuss this with your primary care doctor or consider consultation with an allergist.
Allergies to other medications, foods, animals, latex, eggs, gelatin, or seasonal allergies are not considered a risk for covid vaccination.
9) Do I still need to wear a mask, social distance and perform frequent hand washing after I receive the vaccine?
Yes you should still consider wearing mask in public, social distancing, and frequent hand washing even after you have been vaccinated. This is because the vaccine is not 100% effective. In addition, it may be possible that you would not have symptoms but still contract enough virus to transmit to virus to others who may still be susceptible.
Currently the CDC as well as the city and the state, rate counties as red, yellow or green based on a combination of the number of covid cases and the number of available hospital and ICU beds. When red, it is recommended that all individuals wear masks in indoor public spaces and avoid large gatherings. When yellow, it is recommended that all those at risk for more severe disease with covid (including pregnant women) wear masks indoors.
You are considered fully vaccinated after your initial vaccine series and your first booster if eligible (5 months after completing your initial mRNA vaccines or 2 months after Johnson and Johnson vaccine). The CDC has issued guidelines for fully vaccinated people:
10) Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility?
No, none of the currently available vaccines is linked to infertility.
Despite social media chatter, studies that have evaluated this have found NO link between any covid-19 vaccine and infertility.
Women should feel comfortable that this claim has no basis in science.
11) Can I get another vaccine at the same time as the COVID vaccine?
Yes it is safe to receive other vaccines at the same time as your covid vaccine.
12) Are the vaccines interchangeable?
You may receive a different mrna vaccine (pfizer/moderna) for your booster than for your primary series. If you had Johnson and Johnson for your primary series, the recommendation is to preferably receive one of the mrna vaccines for your booster due to their better coverage of the omicron variant.
13) Am I eligible for a booster shot?
Booster shots are recommended 5 months after completing your initial 2 dose mrna vaccine series. A booster shot is recommended 2 months after an initial Johnson and Johnson vaccine, preferably with an mrna vaccine. A second booster shot is recommended for those over 50 and over as well as those 12 and over who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.
14) If I had COVID or was exposed to the virus, should I still get the vaccine?
Yes, even those who had COVID-19 should be vaccinated once they are recovered. Studies have shown that the vaccine may provide better protection against the new variants than prior infection.
If you are acutely infected, you should wait until you have recovered to receive the vaccine.
If you are recently exposed or in quarantine, you should wait until the end of quarantine to avoid exposure to health care workers.
15) If I had COVID or was exposed, do I need to get blood work done to look for antibodies before getting the vaccine?
No, there is no need to evaluate for antibodies before vaccination. It is also not recommended to check antibodies after the vaccine.
16) If I have medical conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure, should I get the vaccine?
Yes! These medical conditions may result in a more severe infection with COVID-19, so it is important to get vaccinated.
17) If I am immunocompromised should I get the vaccine?
Yes! Vaccination may provide key protection against the virus in those with suppressed immune systems. Immunocompromised people are more likely to get severely ill from covid 19, are more likely to get a breakthrough infection and are more likely to transmit to household contacts. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain live virus.
Studies of immunocompromised people have shown that they may not build the same level of immunity in response to the vaccine compared to people that are not immunocompromised, however most immunocompromised people will have some protection from the vaccine. Data shows that a third vaccine and 2 additional boosters can improve the response in immunocompromised people.
Guidelines have been developed regarding the use of immunocompromising medications in the time around the vaccine; please discus with your doctor who prescribes your medication.
18) Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause Bell’s palsy?
Studies have shown no significant difference in reports of Bells palsy among those that received that vaccine versus placebo.
19) Will the vaccine cause male pattern hair growth?
No, there is no evidence the vaccine causes women to grow beards or mustaches. In contrast, COVID-19 illness has been linked to hair loss. Thus, vaccination will not increase undesired hair growth and may prevent undesired hair loss from COVID-19.
20) How do I know if symptoms after vaccination are due to the vaccine or COVID-19 infection?
Signs and symptoms unlikely to be from COVID-19 vaccination include: Cough, shortness of breath, rhinorrhea, sore throat, loss of taste or smell.
Signs and symptoms that may be from either COVID-19 vaccination, SARS-CoV-2 infection, or another infection include: Fever, fatigue, headache, chills, myalgia, and/or arthralgia.