According to NBC News, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday issued its strongest guidance to urging pregnant women to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
According to the CDC, the lack of vaccination has led to more than 125,000 cases, 22,000 hospitalizations, and 161 deaths among pregnant women with COVID-19. Twenty-two of those deaths came in August alone, the highest number on record for a single month. Yet, less than a third of pregnant women have been vaccinated, the agency reported.
Data from hospitals across the country show that roughly 97% of pregnant women who were hospitalized with a confirmed case of COVID-19 were unvaccinated. Along with the risks of severe illness and death for pregnant and recently pregnant women, the virus also puts babies at increased risk of preterm birth and admission to the ICU, according to the CDC.
The CDC strongly recommends the shot for women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or who may want children in the future.
It’s well proven that people with underlying health conditions and pregnancy are at high risk for Covid complications. One of the main complications of Covid during pregnancy is preterm birth, which puts a newborn at risk, as well. In general, premature babies are more likely to have compromised respiratory function because of their underdeveloped lungs. But if a premature baby with underdeveloped lungs ends up with Covid, that newborn is at risk for additional breathing issues.
“I strongly encourage those who are pregnant or considering pregnancy to talk with their health care provider about the protective benefits of the Covid-19 vaccine to keep their babies and themselves safe,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a statement.
Doctors say that communicating the risks of Covid to pregnant women is neither easy nor straightforward. Many such women loathe getting the shots, sometimes falling prey to misinformation about the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness.
The CDC, which announced there was enough data to deem the vaccine safe for pregnant women last month, issued the alert to accelerate vaccinations to protect higher-risk pregnant women and their unborn children.