CDC urges COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women

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CDC urges COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new evidence Wednesday that bolsters its recommendation that all pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The agency announced new safety data that showed that 2,500 women had no increased risk of miscarriage if they received at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“The vaccines are safe and effective, and it has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

Pregnant women who become infected with the virus have a higher risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications, including miscarriage and stillbirths.

“CDC recommends that pregnant people should be vaccinated against COVID-19, based on new evidence about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines,” the agency said in an updated guidance Wednesday.

“COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future.”

A worker readies a syringe for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Expectant mothers’ vaccination rates lag, with only about 23% who have received at least one dose, according to CDC data.
Gerald Herbert/AP

Expectant mothers’ vaccination rates lag, with only about 23% who have received at least one dose, according to CDC data.

By comparison, more than 71% of American adults are partially vaccinated against the virus, data shows.

The new guidance comes as some experts believe that the highly contagious Delta variant is causing more severe disease — including in pregnant women — though more research is needed.

The recent outbreak has seen lower numbers of pregnant women nationwide infected with the virus than earlier waves.

But at some hospitals in states with low vaccination rates, the number of infected mothers is higher than during earlier surges, before vaccines were on the market.

“This is by far the worst we’ve seen in the pandemic,” said Dr. Jane Martin, an obstetrician with Ochsner Baptist Medical Center in New Orleans.

“It’s disheartening and it’s exhausting. It feels like it doesn’t have to be like this,” she added.

A CDC advisory panel is set to meet Friday to discuss potentially giving COVID-19 booster shots to immunocompromised people, such as those who have transplants or cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration, meanwhile, is expected to make a decision in the next few weeks on whether to fully approve Pfizer’s vaccine, which is currently on the market under emergency use authorization.

With Post wires

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