Today, CDC issued an urgent health advisory to increase COVID-19 vaccination among 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 prevent serious illness, deaths, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
The CDC health advisory strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination for both pregnant persons and their fetus or infant outweigh known or potential risks. Additionally, the advisory calls on health departments and clinicians to educate pregnant people on the benefits of vaccination and the safety of recommended vaccines.
According to CDC data, only 31% of pregnant people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and vaccination rates vary markedly by race and ethnicity. Vaccination coverage is highest among Asian people who are pregnant (45.7%), but lower among Hispanic or Latino pregnant people (25%), and lowest among Black pregnant people (15.6%).
Through September 27, there were more than 125,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in pregnant people including more than 22,000 hospitalized and 161 deaths; of which, 22 deaths occurred in the month of August alone. Cases of COVID-19 in symptomatic, pregnant people have a two-fold risk of admission into intensive care and a 70 percent increased risk of death. Pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes that could include preterm birth, stillbirth, and admission into the ICU of a newborn also infected with COVID-19.
“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 P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “I strongly encourage those who are pregnant or considering pregnancy to talk with their healthcare provider about the protective benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine to keep their babies and themselves safe.”