Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that only around 31% of those who are pregnant – from ages 18 to 49 – have received a dose of the vaccine.
In addition, just over 15% of pregnant Black women are fully vaccinated and just shy of 14% have received at least one dose.
In total, 185.3 million people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated and more than 77% of adults have received at least one shot.
Pregnant people and those who are recently pregnant are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19 than non-pregnant people.
Having underlying medical conditions and other factors – including being older than 25 and being part of some racial and ethnic minority groups – can further increase that risk.
Pregnant people with COVID-19 are also at increased risk for preterm birth and might be at increased risk for other negative pregnancy outcomes.
Vaccination against COVID-19 is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.
In a Wednesday advisory, the agency wrote to urge increased COVID-19 vaccination among people who are pregnant, recently pregnant, who are trying to become pregnant now or who might become pregnant in the future.
“The CDC health advisory strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination for both pregnant persons and their fetus or infant outweigh known or potential risks. Additionally, the advisory calls on health departments and clinicians to educate pregnant people on the benefits of vaccination and the safety of recommended vaccines,” the CDC said, noting that vaccination rates vary markedly by race and ethnicity with coverage highest among Asian people who are pregnant.
That said, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report showed narrowing vaccination disparities between White people and Black and Hispanic people.
Just 25% of Hispanic or Latina pregnant people are vaccinated against COVID-19, although there were more than 125,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in pregnant people through September 27, including 161 deaths.
“Cases of COVID-19 in symptomatic, pregnant people have a two-fold risk of admission into intensive care and a 70 percent increased risk of death. Pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes that could include preterm birth, stillbirth, and admission into the ICU of a newborn also infected with COVID-19,” the CDC wrote.
“Pregnancy can be both a special time and also a stressful time – and pregnancy during a pandemic is an added concern for families. 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,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.