New Vaccine Guidance for Pregnant People
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an urgent health advisory on Wednesday, September 29. They are hoping 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 advisory comes after more than 22,000 hospitalizations and 161 deaths among pregnant people due to COVID. Symptomatic COVID-19 among pregnant people comes with a two-fold increased risk of admission into intensive care and a 70 percent increased risk of death. In short, pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people.
Moreover, pregnant people 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.
We know that the vaccines have been proven to protect pregnant individuals, and they are highly likely to provide protection to infants born to vaccinated people.
We also know that studies have shown that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for pregnant individuals and their babies. There is no evidence that any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, causes any adverse effect whatsoever beyond temporary and manageable side effects. There is no evidence whatsoever that any vaccine causes fertility problems in women or men.
The benefits of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy far outweigh any known or potential risks.
I join with the CDC, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and colleagues across the country in strongly encouraging those considering pregnancy, pregnant, and recently pregnant to get vaccinated.
Marie George, MD, FIDSA, is an infectious disease specialist at SVMC Infectious Disease, which is a part of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington.