Good news is coming out about COVID-19 vaccination rates in Philadelphia. We have recently hit a big milestone: more than two-thirds of all Philadelphia adults are now fully vaccinated! However, there is one group we are concerned are not getting the vaccine: pregnant people. Pregnancy can be an emotional and stressful time and making health decisions during pregnancy can be hard, especially during the pandemic. Thankfully, we have more data than ever that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
The COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for all pregnant and breastfeeding people, 12 and older. It is also recommended for anyone trying to get pregnant or who may become pregnant in the future. Research shows that getting vaccinated while pregnant helps protect mom and baby from COVID-19. Additionally, there is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.
Why is receiving the COVID-19 vaccine when pregnant or breastfeeding so important?
- Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely sick with COVID-19
- Pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk for preterm birth (delivering the baby before 37 weeks) and might be at increased risk for other poor pregnancy outcomes
- Getting vaccinated during pregnancy may help protect baby, as vaccines can cross the placenta
- Breastfeeding people who have received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies
In the U.S., the number of pregnant people infected with COVID-19 has gone up recently. This is most likely due to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant and the low rate of vaccine uptake among pregnant people. As of July 31, only 23% of pregnant people had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Philadelphia doctors say that many of their pregnant patients are not getting vaccinated. The higher risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications related to COVID-19 infection among pregnant people make vaccination for pregnant people more urgent than ever.
If you have questions, talking with your healthcare provider can be helpful, but is not required before getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC recommendations for pregnant women to get vaccinated align with those from professional medical organizations serving people who are pregnant, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine.
Learn more about how to get vaccinated in Philly here. There are options for walk-in, scheduling an appointment, and in-home vaccination services for homebound older adults and people with disabilities.