CDC Issues 'Urgent' Advisory Telling Pregnant Women to Get Vaccinated Against COVID

More than 22,000 pregnant women have been hospitalized with COVID-19 and at least 161 have died from the virus

Woman, Vaccine
A pregnant woman receiving vaccination. Photo: Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control is urgently warning pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19 due to the significant risks of hospitalization or death from the virus.

In a health advisory, the agency "strongly recommends" people who are currently pregnant or hoping to conceive get a COVID-19 vaccine to "prevent serious illness, deaths and adverse pregnancy outcomes."

Pregnancy significantly increases the likelihood of hospitalization or death if a person contracts COVID-19, yet "only 31% of pregnant people have been vaccinated," the CDC said.

As a result, more than 22,000 pregnant women have been hospitalized with COVID-19 and at least 161 have died from the virus — 22 of which occurred just recently in August.

"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," the CDC said.

Contracting COVID-19 while pregnant also has negative effects on the fetus, and can lead to "adverse pregnancy outcomes" such as premature births, stillbirth and the birth of a baby 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. 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," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

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Studies and real-world experience have shown that the vaccines are entirely safe for pregnant people, and that the risk of COVID-19 outweighs any potential issues.

"We are fortunate now to have extraordinary safety data with all of these vaccines. We know that pregnant women are at increased risk of severe disease, of hospitalization and ventilation," Walensky said at a White House COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday.

"They're also at increased risk for adverse events to their baby. We now have data that demonstrates that vaccines — in whatever time in pregnancy or lactating that they're given — are actually safe and effective and have no adverse events to mom or to baby."

Walensky added that they've seen that "in fact, some antibody from the vaccine traverses to the baby and in fact could potentially protect the baby."

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