FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2021
Heather Thomas, 425.508.4980
Pregnant People or Those Trying to Become Pregnant Urged to Get COVID Vaccine
Vaccine helps protect those pregnant and their babies
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an urgent health advisory 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. This is needed to prevent serious illness, deaths, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
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.
According to CDC data, only 31 percent of pregnant people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and vaccination rates vary markedly by race and ethnicity. Vaccination coverage is highest among Asian people who are pregnant (45.7 percent), but lower among Hispanic or Latino pregnant people (25 percent), and lowest among Black pregnant people (15.6 percent).
National data through September 27 shows there were more than 125,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in pregnant people. This included more than 22,000 hospitalized and 161 deaths; of which, 22 deaths occurred in the month of August alone. 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.
Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared with non-pregnant people. Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care, need for a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or illness that results in death. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19. That could include preterm birth, stillbirth, or a newborn also infected with COVID-19 needing admission into the ICU.
Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, although limited, has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
- No safety concerns were found in animal studies: Studies in animals receiving a Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Johnson & Johnson (J&J)/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine before or during pregnancy found no safety concerns in pregnant animals or their babies.
- No adverse pregnancy-related outcomes occurred in previous clinical trials that used the same vaccine platform as the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine: Vaccines that use the same viral vector have been given to pregnant people in all trimesters of pregnancy, including in a large-scale Ebola vaccination trial. No adverse pregnancy-related outcomes, including adverse outcomes affecting the baby, were associated with vaccination in these trials. Learn more about how viral vector vaccines work.
- COVID-19 vaccines do not cause infection, including in pregnant people or their babies: None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 so a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make anyone sick with COVID-19, including pregnant people or their babies.
- Early data on the safety of receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech) during pregnancy are reassuring:
- CDC released the first U.S. data on the safety of receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy. The report analyzed data from three safety monitoring systems in place to gather information about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy. These early data did not find any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated or their babies.
- Another report looked at pregnant people enrolled in the v-safe pregnancy registry who were vaccinated before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Scientists did not find an increased risk for miscarriage among people who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy.
- Many pregnancies reported in these safety monitoring systems are ongoing. CDC will continue to follow people vaccinated during all trimesters of pregnancy to better understand effects on pregnancy and babies.
- Early data suggest receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy reduces the risk for infection: A recent study from Israel compared pregnant people who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine with those who did not. Scientists found that vaccination lowered the risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Vaccination of pregnant people builds antibodies that might protect their baby: When pregnant people receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy, their bodies build antibodies against COVID-19, similar to non-pregnant people. Antibodies made after a pregnant person received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine were found in umbilical cord blood. This means COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy might help protect babies against COVID-19. More data are needed to determine how these antibodies, similar to those produced with other vaccines, may provide protection to the baby.
- COVID-19 vaccination recommended for people who are breastfeeding: COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause infection in anyone, including the mother or the baby, and the vaccines are effective in prevention COVID-19 in people who are breastfeeding. Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies.
Additional clinical trials that study the safety of COVID-19 vaccines and how well they work in pregnant people are underway or planned. Vaccine manufacturers are also collecting and reviewing data from people in the completed clinical trials who received a vaccine and became pregnant.
For help finding a COVID vaccine near you:
A calendar with community clinics offered by the Health District is available at www.snohd.org/calendar.aspx?CID=31, with booster doses anticipated to be available in early-October. Vaccines at these community-based clinics are provided at no cost to patients, regardless of insurance status.
COVID TESTING SITE SCHEDULE
The testing schedule for the week of October 4 is as follows:
- Everett site located at 3715 Oakes Avenue – Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Ash Way Park & Ride site at 16327 Ash Way in Lynnwood – open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Appointments for testing at the District’s locations are required, and registration is available at www.snohd.org/testing. Those without internet access or needing language assistance can reach the Health District’s call center at 425.339.5278 to schedule a testing appointment. The call center is staffed 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Callers after hours or on weekends can leave a message, which will be returned on the next business day.