Pregnant people and their babies are at an increased risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19, according to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data strongly indicates that the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine far outweigh risks for people who are pregnant or might become pregnant in the future.
Jennifer L. Lighter, MD, hospital epidemiologist at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, writes in an op-ed for the New York Daily News about the need for pregnant people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. She notes that any pregnant person infected with COVID-19 is five times more likely to get admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) and more than 15 times more likely to die compared to uninfected pregnant people. Multiple studies across the globe show increase morbidity and mortality when pregnant people become infected with COVID-19.
People who are vaccinated during pregnancy actually pass their antibodies onto their babies. Dr. Lighter and her colleagues demonstrated this in a study published in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology—Maternal–Fetal Medicine, in which the team examined cord blood for antibodies in women who were vaccinated and never infected with COVID-19. Not only did 100 percent of the infants studied have protective antibodies at birth, they had very high levels of antibodies, thereby protecting them for the first several months of life.
“Becoming pregnant during a pandemic is stressful enough. Maternal vaccination can relieve some of those fears by protecting both mother and child. Our public health system can do more to make maternal vaccination an easy decision,” says Dr. Lighter.
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