ATLANTA, Ga. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now advising all pregnant people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, citing new data on the matter.
“CDC encourages all pregnant people or people who are thinking about becoming pregnant and those breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “The vaccines are safe and effective, and it has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible Delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people.”
The CDC said Wednesday that a new analysis assessing vaccination early in pregnancy did not find an increased risk of miscarriage among nearly 2,500 pregnant women who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
“Miscarriage typically occurs in about 11-16% of pregnancies, and this study found miscarriage rates after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine were around 13%, similar to the expected rate of miscarriage in the general population,” wrote the CDC.
The CDC also said that previous data from three safety monitoring systems did not find any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated late in pregnancy or for their babies.
“Combined, these data and the known severe risks of COVID-19 during pregnancy demonstrate that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant people outweigh any known or potential risks,” the CDC said.
Previously, the agency had encouraged pregnant people to consider vaccination because the shots can help protect them from severe illness.
The CDC says pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people.
The new guidance from the CDC aligns with recommendations from top obstetrician groups, like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), which have recommended all people receive a COVID-19 vaccine, including pregnant and lactating individuals.
The updated guidance for pregnant people comes as the delta variant contributes to a rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, especially in the unvaccinated population.
The U.S. is also seeing troubling numbers of unvaccinated mothers-to-be becoming seriously ill with the virus, The Associated Press reports.
"The increased circulation of the highly contagious delta variant, the low vaccine uptake among pregnant people, and the increased risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications related to COVID-19 infection among pregnant people make vaccination for this population more urgent than ever," wrote the CDC.