For Black pregnant people, the data shows 9 out of 10 are unvaccinated
According to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a majority (75%) of pregnant people have not been vaccinated. The news comes as Delta variant cases, which is more contagious than previous strains, continue to rise throughout most of the country.
The news for Black people who are pregnant is even more dire — nearly nine out of ten are unvaccinated, according to the data. This comes as the organization (and many others) have urged pregnant people to get vaccinated, citing research that the vaccine is safe and effective.
The CDC strengthened its messaging earlier in the month and is recommending vaccines for all people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant. “CDC encourages all pregnant people or people who are thinking about becoming pregnant and those breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said in a statement. “The vaccines are safe and effective, and it has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible Delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people.”
Just this week, a Texas mom died shortly after giving birth after contracting COVID-19. Before her death, she sent a text to her mom that said, ‘Mom, I wish I got vaccinated.'” Earlier this month a Florida mom died just ten days after she delivered her baby. A doctor in Alabama said of the ten pregnant women in her ICU, seven are on a ventilator. All are unvaccinated.
Last month, the nation’s two leading health organizations who focus on pregnancy — the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) — also issued new guidelines urging all pregnant people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“ACOG is recommending vaccination of pregnant individuals because we have evidence of the safe and effective use of the vaccine during pregnancy from many tens of thousands of reporting individuals, because we know that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant people at increased risk of severe complications, and because it is clear from the current vaccination rates that people need to feel confident in the safety and protective value of the COVID-19 vaccines,” ACOG president Dr. J. Martin Tucker said in a statement. “Pregnant individuals should feel confident that choosing COVID-19 vaccination not only protects them but also protects their families and communities.”
Two recent studies also found all three COVID-19 vaccines appear to be “completely safe” and effective for pregnant people, according to Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Their study noted pregnant people can get the vaccine at any stage of their pregnancy, noting that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA technology, which are safe during pregnancy because they don’t contain a live virus.
“Clinicians have seen the number of pregnant people infected with COVID-19 rise in the past several weeks,” the CDC said. “The increased circulation of the highly contagious Delta variant, the low vaccine uptake among pregnant people, and the increased risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications related to COVID-19 infection among pregnant people make vaccination for this population more urgent than ever.”