Doctors urge pregnant women to get vaccinated amid Omicron surge

As the highly contagious Omicron version of COVID-19 continues to increase in infections nationwide, doctors are again sounding the alarm about the importance of vaccinating pregnant women.

Worryingly low vaccination rates in pregnancy prompted the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue an urgent health advisory in September calling for all pregnant women to get vaccinated.

The CDC also recommends that those who are pregnant, lactating, currently trying to become pregnant, or who may become pregnant in the future be given a booster shot.

Although vaccination rates among pregnant women have increased somewhat in recent months, they still lag behind the general population. According to the latest CDC data, only about 41 percent of pregnant people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Black pregnant women have the lowest vaccination rates, with about 25 percent complete vaccinations.

Medical director of the Birthplace and Pregnancy Special Care Unit at M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center, Dr. Sarah Krauss, worries that describing O’Micron as “mild” is giving a false sense of security.

“Our benchmark is that it’s lighter than the Delta version,” said Krauss, who is also an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School. newsweek, “But that doesn’t undo the fact that pregnancy is a very, very, very important risk factor for serious disease.

“Being pregnant with COVID increases your risk of being hospitalized, needing a respirator, going to the ICU, dying. And now there is emerging evidence that getting COVID-19 while pregnant can help. Having it increases the risk of stillbirth.”

Cross continued: “Convergence of a more transmissible variant, a higher-risk medical condition and a mostly uninfected population with winters would be fatal – even if the variant itself is not more lethal.”

The most common concern about low vaccine rates among pregnant women is that the vaccine may disrupt pregnancy or harm a fetus.

but one new study found that American women who received the COVID-19 vaccination while pregnant had no increased risk of giving birth to their babies prematurely. The researchers also found that vaccination did not increase the risk of giving birth to a baby with a low birth weight until weeks later in the pregnancy.

The study looked at 46,079 pregnancies that resulted in live births, including 10,064 women who received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine during their pregnancies. Most received vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna, and nearly all were vaccinated during their second or third trimesters.

The study’s lead author and an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. According to Heather Lipkind, the findings should provide some reassurance about vaccination during pregnancy.

He said Greeley Tribune: “Hopefully, given the rapid spread of Omicron, this will make some women more comfortable getting vaccinated.”

Although it is still too early to have data on Omicron and pregnancy, Lipkind said: “We know as with other forms that COVID is much more severe in pregnancy, especially in people who have not been vaccinated.”

A health worker gives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to a pregnant woman at a pop-up vaccination center at Redbridge Town Hall in east London on December 25, 2021.
Justin Tallis / AFP via Getty Images

Lipkind said research has shown that pregnant patients with severe COVID-19 infection are more likely to give birth to premature babies. “The more premature you are, the greater your risk of long-term issues,” she said.

Cross expressed concern that misinformation, particularly on social media, is fueling vaccine hesitation. “I would argue that for pregnant women, if they have read something that worries or concerns them, please ask your doctor or your midwife,” she said.

“As providers, we have seen such impacts from COVID and pregnancy,” Lipkind said. “I’m just so worried. I can see from my hospital what’s going on, and it’s tough. I really want to keep women safe.”

Cross also expressed concern that guidance from the CDC and doctors may not be enough to persuade pregnant women to get vaccinated, especially in communities of color.

“I think we urgently need some very famous black women, maybe Michelle Obama or Kamala Harris, or some movie star to talk about it and tell them it’s safe,” she said.

“If we can get famous women of color to promote vaccines in pregnancy, I think it will go much further than physicians can do. We’re all tired, but there’s still a way to save people’s lives.” There is an opportunity.”

The CDC has been contacted for comment.