TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new health advisory recommending expectant mothers or those planning to become pregnant seek vaccination against COVID-19.
The health advisory from the CDC is intended to promote vaccination for those who are pregnant or may become pregnant and prevent serious illness or adverse pregnancy outcomes due to COVID-19.
The order was published at noon on Sept. 29 and encourages “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 a COVID-19 vaccine.
The health agency said getting the vaccine while pregnant can pass on the vaccination benefits to both mother and fetus or infant, which outweighs any of the known or potential risks.
In data through Sept. 27, more than 125,000 COVID-19 cases were reported among pregnant people, including 22,000 hospitalizations in that patient group, according to the CDC. The group included 161 COVID deaths.
The data was collected from the COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network in 2021. The CDC said the data shows “approximately 97% of pregnant people hospitalized (either for illness or for labor and delivery) with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were unvaccinated.”
Additionally, the data showed risks of severe illness or death for pregnant and recently pregnant people were in addition to an increased risk of “preterm birth and admission of their neonate(s) to an intensive care unit (ICU),” which are defined as adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes. Stillbirths were also reported as a risk.
The CDC reported that as of Sept. 18, only 31% of pregnant people were fully vaccinated before or during their pregnancies. Therefore, the CDC is recommending COVID-19 vaccination for anyone 12 or older, and including the pregnant, recently pregnant, those who are lactating, those trying to get pregnant now or those who may be pregnant in the future.
The health advisory stated that the recommendations align with those from professional medical organizations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
The advisory also said that vaccination rates of pregnant people were lower among minority populations. Data in the report showed “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,” showing “significant disparities” in vaccination by race and ethnicity.
Compared to non-pregnant people, the CDC said the pregnant and recently pregnant are at an increased risk for severe illness due to COVID-19.