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Gynaecologists recommend COVID-19 vaccination to pregnant women

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Angela Onwuzoo

Maternal health experts in the United States under the umbrella of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine respectively, have recommended that all pregnant women be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

The specialists in obstetric care in a statement released on Friday by ACOG and SMFM published on the ACOG website, said vaccinations in tens of thousands of pregnant women over the past several months have shown the vaccines are safe and effective during pregnancy.

The experts expressed concerns about significant increases in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant and the low rates of vaccination.

According to them, data have shown that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant women at increased risk of severe complications and even death; yet only about 22 per cent of pregnant individuals have received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Recent data have shown that more than 95 per cent of those who are hospitalised and/or dying from COVID-19 are those who have remained unvaccinated.

“Pregnant individuals who have decided to wait until after delivery to be vaccinated may be inadvertently exposing themselves to an increased risk of severe illness or death.

“Those who have recently delivered and were not vaccinated during pregnancy are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” the gynaecologists said.

President of ACOG, Dr. Martin Tucker encourages his members to enthusiastically recommend vaccination to their patients. 

Tucker said, “This means emphasising the known safety of the vaccines and the increased risk of severe complications associated with COVID-19 infection, including death, during pregnancy.

“It is clear that pregnant people need to feel confident in the decision to choose vaccination, and a strong recommendation from their obstetrician–gynecologist could make a meaningful difference for many pregnant people.

“ACOG is recommending the vaccination of pregnant individuals because we have evidence of the safe and effective use of the vaccine during pregnancy from many tens of thousands of reporting individuals. 

“Pregnant individuals should feel confident that choosing COVID-19 vaccination not only protects them but also protects their families and communities.”

Also speaking, the President of SMFM, Dr. William Grobman said, “COVID-19 vaccination is the best method to reduce maternal and fetal complications of COVID-19 infection among pregnant people.

“Maternal-fetal medicine subspecialists—experts in high-risk pregnancy—strongly recommend that pregnant people get vaccinated.

“Vaccination is safe before, during, or after pregnancy.

“Vaccines are our single most effective tool against preventable viruses or diseases, including COVID-19. ACOG and SMFM encourage pregnant individuals to get vaccinated without delay because widespread uptake of the vaccines is the best chance we have to save lives and end this pandemic.”

The maternal health experts had in February stated that individuals — including pregnant women — considering a COVID-19 vaccine should have access to available information about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

They said COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals, though none of the COVID-19 vaccines approved under the Emergency Use Authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration was tested on pregnant individuals.

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