CDC Issues Advisory Urging Pregnant Women To Get COVID Vaccine

by Madison Vanderberg
Originally Published: 
Marina Demidiuk/GETTY

CDC sends out a warning message to pregnant folk: Get the COVID-19 vaccine

Not enough pregnant people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and it’s become such an issue that the CDC just released an “urgent” emergency health memo, imploring pregnant and soon-to-be pregnant individuals to get vaccinated ASAP. As of September 18, 2021, only 31% of pregnant individuals have been vaccinated, which pales in comparison to the 56% of the general population that is fully vaccinated against the virus.

“Among people who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are lactating), who are trying to become pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future…the CDC strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination outweigh known or potential risks,” the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) said in the emergency health advisory released on September 29, 2021.

The highest number of COVID-19-related deaths in pregnant people in a single month during the entire pandemic was reported in August 2021, no thanks to the Delta variant. Plus, the CDC reports that “approximately 97% of pregnant people hospitalized (either for illness or for labor and delivery) with confirmed [COVID] infection were unvaccinated.”

It’s not just that pregnant people are getting sick with COVID-19 and are having a fever for a few days, but pregnant people with COVID-19 “are at increased risk for severe illness when compared with non-pregnant people.” Per the CDC, those severe illnesses include illness that requires hospitalization, ICU admission, ventilation, oxygen, or even end in death.

The list of potential complications that may happen in pregnant people who are unvaccinated is staggering. According to the CDC, those complications include:

“Symptomatic pregnant people have more than a two-fold increased risk of requiring ICU admission, invasive ventilation, [oxygen], and a 70% increased risk of death.” Also, pregnant folk who have COVID-19 “are also at increased risk for preterm birth and some data suggest an increased risk for other adverse pregnancy complications and outcomes, such as preeclampsia, coagulopathy, and stillbirth” compared with pregnant people who don’t have COVID-19. Plus, babies “born to people with COVID-19 are also at increased risk for admission to the neonatal ICU” and 4% of babies born to people with COVID-19 are also testing positive for the virus.

As of September 18, 2021, only 31.0% of pregnant people were fully vaccinated before or during their pregnancy. This number is too low.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) also enthusiastically encourage pregnant folks to get vaccinated against COVID-19. We need to move away from the misconceptions about the vaccine that were spread earlier this year. When the vaccines first rolled out earlier this year, many expecting parents stated that there weren’t enough pregnant and breastfeeding individuals in the initial COVID-19 vaccine trials, which made them wary about getting vaccinated. Now there is more than enough data, studies, trials, and real-world info about pregnancy and the vaccine and the CDC is literally begging folks to understand that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and pregnant people need to get the shot.

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