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CDC urges pregnant people to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Recent data show low vaccination rates are leading to increased infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

In its strongest language yet on the subject, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending urgent action to increase COVID-19 vaccination among people who are pregnant or planning to be to prevent serious illness, deaths and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

The agency issued an emergency alert on Sept. 29 after data showed more than 125,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in pregnant people, including some 22,000 hospitalizations and 161 deaths — 22 of them in August alone. Of those cases, 97% were unvaccinated. The overall vaccination rate among pregnant people is just 31%, and significantly lower among Latino, Hispanic and Black populations.

The health advisory applies to people who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are lactating), trying to become pregnant or who might become pregnant in the future.

“Pregnancy can be both a special time and also a stressful time – and pregnancy during a pandemic is an added concern for families,” said CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD. “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.”

Cases of COVID-19 in symptomatic pregnant people have a two-fold risk of admission into intensive care and a 70% increased risk of death. In addition to the risks of severe illness and death for pregnant and recently pregnant people, there is an increased risk for adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, including preterm birth and admission of their neonates to an intensive care unit, according to the advisory.

  • 125,000 confirmed cases in pregnant people
  • 22,000 hospitalizations
  • 161 deaths
  • 31% vaccination rate

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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