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Walgreens apologizes to pregnant Bakersfield woman denied COVID-19 vaccine

“Getting vaccinated while pregnant is a very personal choice."
Posted at 12:48 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 18:42:23-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Walgreens has apologized to a pregnant Bakersfield woman, who was denied the COVID-19 vaccine.

Throughout her pregnancy, Amanda Punkett and her husband have taken steps to protect her and their unborn child.

"We've been very good about really keeping to ourselves, which has changed the dynamic of what it's like to be pregnant with your first child," she said.

With the dynamic of their family days away from changing she decided to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

As of Monday, pregnancy is one of the groups being prioritized for vaccine eligibility in California. Plunkett was able to book an appointment last week, based on her job, but left without getting the shot after she says the pharmacist refused to administer it.

“At first she felt uncomfortable with being in a pharmacy setting, administering to a pregnant woman,” said Plunkett, who brought a letter of consent from her doctor with her to the appointment.

“She followed up with a few statements along the lines she personally felt that the research isn't adequate for pregnancy and covid vaccination.”

After 23ABC got involved, Walgreens apologized to Plunkett for the “inconvenience.”

Walgreens released the following statement to 23ABC:

“Walgreens apologizes for any inconvenience to our customer and we’re working closely with our clinical and safety teams to continuously review the latest guidance from the CDC and other health officials with our pharmacy team members to serve as a resource and help address any patient questions/concerns. Walgreens is following guidance from the CDC and offering to administer any of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines among people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, once they’re eligible to receive the vaccines. Walgreens takes the role we’re playing to support vaccine administration across the country very seriously.”

According to the CDC, research shows pregnant women are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and experts believe COVID-19 vaccines are ‘unlikely to pose a specific risk.”

“I'd looked into the research myself but certainly if my doctor was comfortable with it I was going to be comfortable with," Plunkett told 23ABC News.

Plunkett is too close to her delivery to get one now and said she'll wait until after the baby arrives to try again.

Kern County Public Health encourages expectant mothers to discuss their options with their doctors.

“Getting vaccinated while pregnant is a very personal choice between you and your doctor,” said Kern County Public Health spokesperson Michelle Corson.