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Infectious disease expert strongly encourages pregnant women to get COVID-19 vaccine

Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH

Pregnant women are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at a lower rate than their non-pregnant peers, according to data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is particularly low among those 18 to 24, as well as Black and Hispanic women.

a man and a woman sitting on a table: A pregnant woman getting the COVID-19 shot.© Provided by RADIO.COM A pregnant woman getting the COVID-19 shot.

University of Minnesota Infectious Disease Director Doctor Michael Osterholm said it’s a problem that needs fixing. Osterholm said not being vaccinated could cause potential problems down the road.

“These numbers always speaks exactly to the point that we’ve been talking about for some time, as we have these pockets of under-vaccinated individuals, in some cases, very significant,” Osterholm says.

“Our concern is if this vaccine’s going to have some bad impact on my unborn child. And the overarching critical message that I hope everyone takes away is the data is compelling on how safe these vaccines are for pregnant women.”

Osterholm says actually getting the virus is a serious risk for pregnant women.

“We see real complications among pregnant women who get infected with COVID and what that does to them or their potential unborn child,” Osterholm said.

“So I can’t say this more clearly: Please get vaccinated if you’re pregnant (or) if you’re anticipating getting pregnant.”

According to the CDC, pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people.

The CDC recommends getting a COVID-19 vaccine if pregnant If you have questions about getting vaccinated, a conversation with your healthcare provider might help, but is not required for vaccination.

As to a risk that vaccines damage the potential of pregnancy in the future, Osterholm says there is no evidence of that happening.

“We’ve heard rumors to the effect that somehow this will damage your fertility or have less likelihood of getting pregnant,” he said. “That’s just simply not the case.”

Osterholm said there is still lot of work to do in order to safely get vaccines in many parts of the population. The numbers of vaccines across most of the country have slowed since initially becoming widely available in April.

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