Infectious Disease

CDC encourages pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19

August 11, 2021

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Walensky does not report any relevant financial information. The authors do not report any relevant financial information.

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The CDC encouraged pregnant and breastfeeding women to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as researchers from the agency reported “reassuring” data on the safety of the vaccines on Wednesday.

An analysis of nearly 2,500 pregnant people who received a COVID-19 messenger RNA vaccine before the 20th week of pregnancy showed no increased risk of miscarriage, the CDC researchers reported in a preprint study.

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Researchers found that data on their safety in this population were limited because pregnant women were not enrolled in studies of COVID-19 vaccines, even though “there is no compelling biological reason to expect that an mRNA COVID- 19 vaccination (either before conception or during pregnancy) poses a pregnancy risk, ”they wrote.

Still, vaccine uptake was slow in pregnant women in the United States, especially among Hispanic and non-Hispanic black women.

Rochelle P. Walensky

“CDC encourages any pregnant woman or anyone contemplating getting pregnant and those who are breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19,” said CDC director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPHsaid in a statement. “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 consequences of COVID-19 in unvaccinated pregnant people.”

For the study, CDC Research Fellow Lauren head Zauche, PhD, RN, CPNP-PC, and colleagues evaluated data from a smartphone-based monitoring system from 2,456 pregnant women who had received at least one dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine before the 20th week of pregnancy and who had no loss of pregnancy before the 6th week of pregnancy.

According to the researchers, of all pregnancies in high-income countries, around 11% to 16% result in spontaneous abortion (SAB).

In the new study, participants were examined between the 6th and 19th week of pregnancy. Of the 2,456 participants, 2,020 were known to be 20 weeks pregnant and 165 reported a loss of pregnancy, with 154 occurring before 14 weeks gestation.

Overall, the risk of SAB between 6-19 weeks of pregnancy in women who received either vaccine was 14.1% (95% CI, 12.1-16.1%). With age stratification, the risk was 9.8% for 20 to 29 year olds (95% CI 5.9-12.4%). 13% among 30 to 34 year olds (95% CI, 10.1-15.8%); 16.7% among 35 to 39 year olds (95% CI, 12.5-20.6%); and 28.8% among those over 40 (95% CI, 16.8-39.1%).

“These data suggest that the cumulative risk of SAB from 6-19 weeks of pregnancy after receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is in the expected range based on previous SAB studies,” the authors write. “Confirmation of these results is necessary through observational studies with unvaccinated pregnant women.”

References:

CDC. COVID-19. Pregnant people. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnant-people.html. Accessed August 11, 2021.

Zauche LH et al. Resq. 2021; doi: 10.21203 / rs.3.rs-798175 / v1.

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Amesh A. Adalja, MD

Amesh A. Adalja

Long before the official CDC guidelines, I recommended that pregnant women get vaccinated against COVID-19. The official CDC recommendation lags behind doctors’ recommendations but is still very important as it will hopefully lead to more pregnant women – who are at increased risk of complications – being vaccinated.

The recommendation goes directly to the risk of miscarriage by stating that there is no increased risk, and removes a concern that has been used to discourage pregnant women from vaccinating.

Amesh A. Adalja, MD

Senior scholarship holder

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Safety

Disclosure: Adalja does not report any relevant disclosures.

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