The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory on Wednesday “recommending urgent action” by “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” to get inoculated against the coronavirus.
As of Monday, more than 125,000 pregnant people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, resulting in 22,000 hospitalizations and 161 deaths, according to the statistics provided by the CDC. August of 2021 was their deadliest month so far with 22 fatalities.
“CDC strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination outweigh known or potential risks,” the agency said, citing harrowing data showing that vaccination rates among pregnant people are disproportionately lower than the rest of the American population.
“Vaccination coverage for pregnant people differs by race and ethnicity, with vaccination coverage being lowest for non-Hispanic Black pregnant people (15.6%) as of September 18, 2021,” the CDC said. “Although the proportion of fully vaccinated pregnant people has increased to 31.0% (as of September 18, 2021), the majority of pregnant people remain unprotected against COVID-19, and significant disparities exist in vaccination coverage by race and ethnicity.”
The CDC also stressed that pregnant people, along with their “fetuses/infants,” are at greater risk of both severe illness and potential long-term complications from SARS-COV-2 infection.
“Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, mechanical ventilation, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), or illness that results in death. Although the absolute risk is low, compared with non-pregnant symptomatic people, symptomatic pregnant people have more than a two-fold increased risk of requiring ICU admission, invasive ventilation, and ECMO, and a 70% increased risk of death,” the agency warned. “Pregnant people with 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 without COVID-19. Neonates born to people with COVID-19 are also at increased risk for admission to the neonatal ICU. In addition, although rare, pregnant people with COVID-19 can transmit infection to their neonates; among neonates born to women with COVID-19 during pregnancy, 1–4% of neonates tested were positive by rRT-PCR.”
Additionally, the CDC encouraged health care providers to insist that their pregnant patients get vaccinated.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.