PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports only 31 percent of pregnant individuals have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
This is why the CDC issued an urgent health advisory to increase COVID-19 vaccination for those who are pregnant, recently pregnant, lactating, trying to become pregnant, or might become pregnant in the future.
One Pitt County mom got her first dose of the Moderna vaccine at 22 weeks pregnant, per her doctor’s recommendation.
And she is glad she did.
“Being pregnant during a global pandemic is not what anyone imagines, so you have to think about the long run and how you can protect them long term,” said Mary Potts as she held her two-month-old baby girl, Cecilia.
The CDC recommends that the current best way to protect infants is through passive immunity via the vaccine.
This is something Dr. Kerianne Crockett, an OBGYN expert from the Brody School of Medicine, agrees with.
“The risks of the infection in pregnancy far, far, far outweigh any theoretical suspicion for some risk about the vaccine in pregnancy,” says Dr. Crockett. “It’s horrible. This virus is terrible. And when somebody who’s pregnant gets really, really sick it’s extremely complicated to manage them.”
The CDC says symptomatic COVID-positive pregnant people have a two-fold risk of admission into intensive care and a 70% increased risk of death.
Some of the COVID-19 pregnancy risk outcomes include preterm birth, stillbirth, and admission into the ICU of a newborn also infected with COVID-19.
“This frequency of this specific diagnosis in repetition being the reason that pregnant or an immediately postpartum person ends up in the intensive care unit. This is way different than anything else.”
As of last week, the CDC reported over 125,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in pregnant people. It has seen 22,000 hospitalizations and 161 deaths.
August 2021 alone accounts for 22 of those total deaths.
“I couldn’t imagine being in a position where I didn’t put her first,” Potts said about her new addition to the family.
The CDC hopes that further education via health departments and clinicians on the benefits and safety of the vaccine in pregnant individuals will aid in increasing the vaccination rate.
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