CDC Releases New Statement on Pregnancy Health Advisory: What You Need to Know
Recently the 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 advises COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination for both pregnant women and their fetus or infant outweigh known or potential risks.
In fact, the advisory went as far to call on health departments and clinicians to educate pregnant people on the benefits of vaccination and the safety of recommended vaccines.
Vaccination of Pregnant Women by the Numbers
Pregnant women 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.
The highest number of COVID-19-related deaths in pregnant women in a single month of the pandemic was reported in August 2021. Data from the COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET) in 2021 indicates that approximately 97 percent of pregnant women hospitalized (either for illness or for labor and delivery) with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were unvaccinated.
According to the CDC, only 31 percent of pregnant women have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and vaccination rates vary markedly by race and ethnicity. Vaccination coverage:
- Asian women who are pregnant (45.7 percent)
- Hispanic or Latino women who are pregnant (25 percent)
- Black women who are pregnant (15.6 percent)
According to CDC Director, Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H. — “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.”
COVID-19 Vaccination for Pregnant Women
The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all people aged 12 years and older, including women who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are lactating), who are trying to get pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future.
The CDC recommendations align with professional medical organizations serving women who are pregnant, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologistsexternal icon and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.
The CDC strongly recommends the vaccination for pregnant women because the benefits of vaccination for both pregnant persons and their fetus/infant outweigh known or potential risks. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can prevent severe illness, death, and pregnancy complications related to COVID-19.