CDC encourages pregnant women to take COVID vaccines, citing spike in pregnancy deaths

(Planet Today) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an “urgent” alert for pregnant women to get their dose of COVID-19 vaccines due to a recent record surge in deaths and possible birth defects linked to the virus.

In a statement, the CDC noted that pregnancy during the pandemic is an added concern for families, and pregnant people are encouraged to speak with their healthcare providers about the protective benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine in keeping themselves and their babies safe.

(Article by Mary Villareal republished from

A longer release from the CDC also stated that August saw the highest number of COVID-19-related deaths in pregnant people in a single month, with 22 fatalities reported. The risk of ICU admissions and “intensive ventilation” for pregnant women has also increased more than two-fold, while the risk of death increased by 70 percent. The CDC also warned of complications that the virus could cause during pregnancy, which can include inducing premature labor and stillbirth.

The CDC declared that COVID-19 vaccines were safe for pregnant women in April after a major study found no significant safety concerns to their health. It also reiterated the same stance days before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave full approval to Pfizer’s vaccine. The CDC cited more recent data which said that the jabs did not show any increased risk of miscarriage among nearly 2,500 who received an mRNA vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Vaccination coverage in pregnant women is said to be highest among Asian women (45.7 percent), and lowest among Blacks (15.6 percent).

CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky claimed in a White House COVID-19 briefing that studies show vaccines are safe for pregnant women. She shared that they now have extraordinary safety data with all of the vaccines.

“We know that pregnant women are at increased risk of severe disease, of hospitalization and ventilation. They’re also at increased risk for adverse events to their baby. We now have data that demonstrates that vaccines — at 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,” she claimed during the briefing.

She also claimed that some antibodies from the vaccine could transfer to the baby, potentially protecting it. Similar to the flu, the immune system proteins activated in the mother’s body could travel to that of her unborn child. 

Dr. Dana Meaney Delman, the CDC’s lead on maternal immunization, also told its Advisory Committee On Immunization Practices about the worrying trends among pregnant women, sharing that there have been increased numbers of pregnant people admitted to the ICU in July and August. The trend continued in September.

Are vaccines truly safe for pregnant women?

Pregnancy is on the CDC’s list of conditions that could increase the risk for severe COVID. Though the absolute risk of severe infection is low, symptomatic pregnant patients are more than twice as likely to require admission to intensive care or need interventions like mechanical ventilation. They are also more likely to die.

Some data also suggest that pregnant people suffering from COVID-19 are more likely to experience conditions that complicate pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia, compared to those who don’t have COVID.

Clinical trials don’t usually include pregnant women, and they were not included in the COVID-19 vaccine trials, which is why data on safety and effectiveness remain limited in the group. However, some studies conducted since the vaccines were authorized claim that they do not increase the risk of miscarriage.

That said, one journal that claimed such recently changed its tune. After publishing a study that claimed that COVID-19 vaccines were safe for pregnant women, the New England Journal of Medicine issued a correction due to a lack of evidence in said study.

“At the time of publication of preliminary findings in the Original Article related to this editorial, the number of spontaneous abortions was 104 and there was 1 stillbirth,” the correction reads. “However, no proportion could be determined for the risk of spontaneous abortion among participants vaccinated before 20 weeks of gestation because follow-up information was not yet available for the majority of those persons.”

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