From an October 1, 2021, Snohomish Health District media release.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has 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.
This is needed 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 percent 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 percent), but lower among Hispanic or Latino pregnant people (25 percent), and lowest among Black pregnant people (15.6 percent).
National data through September 27th shows there were more than 125,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in pregnant people. This included 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.
Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared with non-pregnant people.
Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care, need for a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or illness that results in death.
Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19. That could include preterm birth, stillbirth, or a newborn also infected with COVID-19 needing admission into the ICU.
Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, although limited, has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.