CDC issues ‘urgent’ health advisory for pregnant women to get vaccinated as new figures show just a third of mothers-to-be have received their shots
- The CDC issued an advisory on Wednesday recommending ‘urgent action’ to increase vaccination rates among pregnant women
- Just 31% of mothers-to-be have been vaccinated with the highest rate among Asian women at 45.7% and the lowest rate among black women at 15.6%
- Studies have shown pregnant women have a two-fold risk of being admitted to ICUs and a 70% increased risk of death
- More than 125,000 pregnant women have contracted COVID-19 with more than 22,000 hospitalizations and 161 deaths – 22 of those in the month of August
- Research suggests vaccines don’t just pregnant women, but also their babies by passing on virus-fighting antibodies while in the womb
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an urgent health advisory on Wednesday to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates among pregnant women or those looking to become pregnant.
The agency has strongly advised women to get their shots either before or during pregnant due to their increased risk of severe illness and death from the virus.
However, just under one-third of mothers-to-be have been vaccinated, figures from the CDC show.
‘Pregnancy can be both a special time and also a stressful time – and pregnancy during a pandemic is an added concern for families,’ CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky said in a statement alongside the health advisory.
‘I strongly encourage those who are pregnant or considering pregnancy to talk with their healthcare provider about the protective benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine to keep their babies and themselves safe.’
The CDC issued an advisory on Wednesday recommending ‘urgent cation’ to increase vaccination rates among pregnant women. Pictured: Michelle Melton gets the Pfizer vaccine at 35 weeks pregnantat Skippack Pharmacy in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, February 2021
Just 31% of all mothers-to-be (dark blue line) have been vaccinated with the highest rate among Asian women at 45.7% (pink line) and the lowest rate among black women at 15.6% (orange line)
As of Wednesday, more than 125,000 pregnant women have contracted COVID-19, according to the CDC.
Of those women, more than 22,000 have been hospitalized and 161 died – 22 of those deaths occurred in the month of August alone.
‘Cases of COVID-19 in symptomatic, pregnant people have a two-fold risk of admission into intensive care and a 70 percent increased risk of death,’ the CDC wrote in its health advisory.
Several studies have found that expecting mothers are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 compared to the general population.
And, once they do fall ill with the virus, they are more likely to develop severe cases or die from it.
One study from the University of Washington in Seattle found pregnant women infected with Covid were 3.5 times more likely to be hospitalized with complications and nearly 14 times more likely to die than younger Americans.
Expectant mothers who have COVID-19 also more likely to experience complications with their pregnancies.
A study from the University of Oxford in the UK, found mothers-to-be had a 76 percent higher risk of developing preeclampsia – a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure – and were 59 percent more likely to give birth prematurely.
Despite these risks, just 31 percent of pregnant people were fully vaccinated before or during their pregnancies, CDC figures show.
There are disparities between races/ethnicities with Asian mothers-to-be having the highest vaccination rate at 45.7 percent.
Hispanic pregnant women have lower rates at 25 percent and the lowest rate is among black women at 15.6 percent.
Many pregnant women have been hesitant to get vaccinated due to misinformation that Covid vaccines are linked to infertility.
Studies have shown pregnant women have a two-fold risk of being admitted to ICUs and a 70% increased risk of death
However, COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective in expectant mothers – or women looking to become pregnant – and don’t raise the risk of miscarriage.
In fact, an Israeli study found that pregnant women vaccinated with Pfizer’s shot were nearly five times less likely to be infected than unvaccinated pregnant women.
What’s more, research from New York University found that pregnant women who get a COVID-19 vaccine pass on virus-fighting antibodies to their babies while in the womb.
‘The CDC health advisory strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination for both pregnant persons and their fetus or infant outweigh known or potential risks,’ the agency wrote.
‘Additionally, the advisory calls on health departments and clinicians to educate pregnant people on the benefits of vaccination and the safety of recommended vaccines.