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CDC Now Recommends Pregnant People Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

“At this time, the benefits of vaccination, and the known risks of Covid during pregnancy and the high rates of transmission right now, outweigh any theoretical risks of the vaccine.”
ByNehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Updated
August 11, 2021
Pregnant woman outside wearing a mask and holding her belly.
Image: Amnia Filkins

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is officially recommending that pregnant people roll up their sleeves and get the COVID-19 vaccine. The announcement came on Wednesday, August 11. Until now, the organization had maintained that pregnant individuals should have access to the vaccine, but that the decision was personal and one they should discuss with their doctors

The announcement follows a new study, which found no increased risk of miscarriage in those who had been vaccinated during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. The study adds to growing research proving the COVID-19 vaccine series to be safe and effective.

“At this time, the benefits of vaccination, and the known risks of Covid during pregnancy and the high rates of transmission right now, outweigh any theoretical risks of the vaccine,” Sascha R. Ellington, an epidemiologist at the CDC, told The New York Times.

With a new surge of COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant, many states are reinstating mask mandates nationwide and experts are urging everyone to get vaccinated. According to the CDC, only approximately 22 percent of pregnant individuals have gotten one or more of their vaccine doses.

On July 30, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) released their own official recommendation that pregnant people receive the COVID-19 due to growing evidence proving the vaccine to be safe and effective. Prior to the announcement, the ACOG had similarly maintained that pregnant people should have access to the vaccine, but discuss the decision with their healthcare provider.

The new ACOG and CDC recommendation comes amidst reports that the resurgence in hospitalization cases primarily affects those who have not yet been vaccinated. Both organizations are urging any pregnant people who were considering waiting until after birth to get their COVID-19 vaccine sooner rather than later.

“ACOG encourages its members to enthusiastically recommend vaccination to their patients. This means emphasizing the known safety of the vaccines and the increased risk of severe complications associated with COVID-19 infection, including death, during pregnancy,” J. Martin Tucker, MD, FACOG, president of ACOG, said on July 30. “It is clear that pregnant people need to feel confident in the decision to choose vaccination, and a strong recommendation from their obstetrician–gynecologist could make a meaningful difference for many pregnant people.”

“ACOG is recommending vaccination of pregnant individuals because we have evidence of the safe and effective use of the vaccine during pregnancy from many tens of thousands of reporting individuals, because we know that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant people at increased risk of severe complications, and because it is clear from the current vaccination rates that people need to feel confident in the safety and protective value of the COVID-19 vaccines,” he added. “Pregnant individuals should feel confident that choosing COVID-19 vaccination not only protects them but also protects their families and communities.”

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