ADPH strongly urges COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women in all stages of pregnancy and while breastfeeding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Grace Thomas, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.
(334) 206-5675

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the two leading organizations representing specialists in obstetric care, have recommended that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) joins these organizations in strongly urging all pregnant individuals, along with recently pregnant, planning to become pregnant, breastfeeding and other eligible pregnant women to be vaccinated against COVID-19. With cases rising as a result of the Delta variant, the best way for protection against the potential harm from COVID-19 infection is to be vaccinated.

The support of vaccinations during pregnancy by ACOG and SMFM reflect evidence demonstrating the safe use of the COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy from tens of thousands of reporting individuals over the past several months, as well as the current low vaccination rates and concerning increase in cases. Data review has indicated that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant individuals at increased risk of severe complications including death; yet only about 22 percent of pregnant individuals have received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Vaccination is safe before, during or after pregnancy. Pregnant and recently pregnant individuals are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared with non-pregnant peers. The CDC includes pregnant and recently pregnant individuals in its “increased risk” category for severe COVID-19 illness. Although the absolute risk for severe COVID-19 is low, available data indicate an increased risk of ICU admission, need for mechanical ventilation and ventilatory support (ECMO) and death reported in pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19 infection, when compared with symptomatic non-pregnant women. Additionally, compared to asymptomatic pregnant patients, severe critical COVID-19 illness has been associated with increased risk of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, preterm births and pregnancy loss.

UAB recently announced the admission of 50 pregnant women with COVID-19 infection during the month of August with at least 7 on ventilators and 2 deaths in pregnant individuals along with a number of fetal losses occurring in the second and third trimesters. In addition, there have been numerous admissions to other hospitals within Alabama.

Several factors can increase a pregnant or recently pregnant woman’s risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19. These factors include the following:

  • Having underlying medical conditions (cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-care/underlyingconditions.html)
  • Being older than 25 years
  • Living or working in a community with high numbers of COVID-19 cases
  • Living or working in a community with low levels of COVID-19 vaccination
  • Working in places where it is difficult or not possible to keep at least 6 feet apart from people who might be sick
  • Being part of some racial and ethnic minority groups, which have been put at increased risk of getting sick from COVID-19 because of the health inequities they face

Given the risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy, women who test positive for the virus should immediately speak to their physician about the use of monoclonal antibody treatment to reduce the severity of disease and hospitalization.

More information about COVID-19 is available at alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/index.html



County health departments throughout Alabama provide a wide range of confidential and professional services. Contact your local county health department for additional information.

Mission: To promote, protect, and improve Alabama’s health

Vision: Healthy People. Healthy Communities. Healthy Alabama.

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08/24/2021


ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH
RSA Tower 201 Monroe Street, Suite 910, Montgomery, AL 36104
Phone: (334) 206-5300 | Fax: (334) 206-5520