CDC shows pregnancy raises COVID-19 risk of death by 70%

The CDC has issued a health advisory regarding pregnant people and COVID-19 vaccinations. The new advisory "recommends urgent action" to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates among not only those who are currently pregnant, but those who were recently pregnant, including those who are lactating, those who are trying to become pregnant, or those who could become pregnant in the near future. According to the CDC, vaccination among pregnant people is low.

Specifically, the CDC says that the vaccination rate among pregnant people has been slower than the rate among non-pregnant people. Data shows that only 31% of pregnant people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Through September 27th, CDC data says there were more than 150,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among pregnant people, with 22,000 hospitalizations and 161 deaths; 22 of those deaths happened in August, so it seems that COVID-related deaths in pregnant people are on the rise.

Furthermore, the CDC states that in cases where COVID-19 infection is symptomatic, pregnant people have double the risk of admission to an ICU and a staggering 70% increased risk of death. CDC data shows that vaccination rates also vary depending on race and ethnicity, with the agency saying that vaccination coverage is "lowest for non-Hispanic Black pregnant people (15.6%) as of September 18, 2021."

"Pregnancy can be both a special time and also a stressful time – and pregnancy during a pandemic is an added concern for families," CDC director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, said in a statement today. "I strongly encourage those who are pregnant or considering pregnancy to talk with their healthcare provider about the protective benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine to keep their babies and themselves safe."

So, if you're pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant, then the CDC recommends getting fully vaccinated as soon as possible since "the benefits of vaccination for both pregnant persons and their fetus/infant outweigh known or potential risks." You can read the full health advisory over on the CDC's website.