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CDC Issues Additional Warning Regarding COVID-19's Impact on Pregnant and Lactating Individuals

On Sept. 29, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an advisory recommending urgent action 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. The CDC strongly recommends vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination outweigh known or potential risks. The advisory is available here.

As of Sept. 27, 2021, more than 125,000 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in pregnant people, including more than 22,000 hospitalized cases and 161 deaths. The highest number of COVID-19-related deaths in pregnant people in a single month of the pandemic (22) was reported in August 2021. Data from the COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network in 2021 indicate that approximately 97 percent of pregnant people hospitalized (either for illness or for labor and delivery) with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were unvaccinated. In addition to the risks of severe illness and death for pregnant and recently pregnant people, there is an increased risk for adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes, including preterm birth and admission of their neonate(s) to an intensive care unit. Other adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as stillbirth, have been reported. Despite the known risks of COVID-19, as of Sept. 18, 2021, 31 percent of pregnant people were fully vaccinated before or during their pregnancy. In addition, there are racial and ethnic disparities in vaccination coverage for pregnant people.

Health care providers should communicate the risks of COVID-19, the benefits of vaccination, and information on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy. Providers should strongly recommend that 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 receive one of the authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible.

Contact: Meg Everett, meverett@leadingageny.org, 518-929-9342