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Despite Omicron Surge, Vaccination Rates Still Lag Among Pregnant Americans

Despite Omicron Surge, Vaccination Rates Still Lag Among Pregnant Americans

Studies show that pregnant people are at risk for more severe diseases with Covid-19, and the illness frequently leads to a bevy of complications – including preeclampsia and premature birth. But only about 22% of pregnant people in the United States have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with another 18% who got vaccinated prior to pregnancy.

That means three in five pregnant Americans have no protection provided by vaccination as the country faces an enormous surge in cases spurred by the Omicron variant. And a pregnant person who has Covid-19 is two to three times more likely to experience premature birth, fetal growth restrictions, and hemorrhaging, according to a new study published on Monday in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Source: Flickr – (hlkljgk)

A Covid-19 diagnosis increased the risk of having a very premature baby by 60%, according to another study. These early births are particularly alarming because they “carry the highest risks of infant mortality and adverse outcomes”, the authors wrote, and the babies tend to face longer stays in the neonatal ICU with more severe illness.

People who were Covid-positive when they delivered their babies were twice as likely to have stillbirths, the CDC study also found. Pregnant women with Covid were 22 times more likely to die than women without the illness, according to a study in 18 countries before vaccines were available.

Simply encouraging pregnant patients to get vaccinated is often not enough. They need to have questions answered, especially around the safety of the vaccines. According to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, six out of 10 respondents who haven’t yet gotten the vaccines worried about their safety, despite an abundance of data showing the vaccines are safe and effective.

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