Public health officials encourage new, expecting parents to get COVID-19 vaccines

Pregnancy and vaccines
Los Angeles County officials are warning pregnant people to seriously consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine. On Oct. 12, 2021, Public health experts said pregnant patients account for more than 13,000 cases and at least a dozen deaths since pandemic began. Photo credit Getty Images

Los Angeles County officials are warning pregnant people to seriously consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Public health experts say pregnant patients account for more than 13,000 cases and at least a dozen deaths since pandemic began.

Of pregnant women who tested positive for the virus, the Department of Public Health said 76% are Latina/Latinx, 11% are White, 5% are African American/Black and 5% are Asian.

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“Although rare, women infected during their pregnancy can pass the virus to their newborn,” the department said. “Among the 12,919 births where there was testing information, 63 infants tested positive for COVID-19.”

The CDC said growing evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy suggests “the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.”

Pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from the virus, according to the CDC, adding that severe illness includes 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,” the CDC said. “And might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19.”

Some pregnant people or people trying to have children choose to go without the vaccine, including ESPN Reporter Allison Williams.

In September, Williams shared a statement saying she understands that vaccines have been essential in the effort to end the pandemic, but she had decided that getting the vaccine was “not in her best interest” as she and her husband try for a second child.