CDC director says U.S. Covid deaths among pregnant women peaked in August

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  • More than 120,000 pregnant women in the US have been diagnosed with Kovid.
  • The risk of miscarriage after covid vaccination aligns with the general risk of miscarriage after adjusting for the mother’s age.
  • But non-pregnant women are more than twice as likely to need intensive care and ventilators than non-pregnant women when they contract Covid, Valensky said.

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Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Valensky said Thursday that Covid-19 deaths among pregnant women hit a record high of 21 in August, urging expectant mothers to get vaccinated against the virus.

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Only 31% of pregnant women across the country are vaccinated, even though pregnant women with COVID are likely to experience alarming symptoms that put the health of their babies at risk, he said. Valensky’s remarks came a day after the CDC announced a health advisory for pregnant women to be vaccinated to reduce the risk of contracting a severe case of Covid.

“Compared to pregnant women without Covid, pregnant women with Covid are more likely to have a premature birth or stillbirth,” Valensky said during a presentation to the Infectious Diseases Society of America. “And this demonstrates with a lot of evidence that pregnant women are at higher risk of COVID-19, and their babies are also at higher risk.”

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More than 120,000 pregnant women in the US have been diagnosed with Covid, and Valensky said more than 5,000 pregnant women have participated in the agency’s vaccine safety surveillance programs. About half of those studied got the Pfizer vaccine, about 44% got Moderna, and about 5% were immunized by Johnson & Johnson.

Valensky said the study of participants enabled the CDC to determine that COVID vaccines had no effect on increasing the chance of miscarriage. CDC officials expanded on those findings at the September 22 meeting of the agency’s Vaccine Advisory Committee, which reported a 20 to 12.8% risk of miscarriage.th week of pregnancy in 2,456 pregnant individuals vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna.

Officials said the risk of miscarriage measured in the study aligns with the general risk of miscarriage after adjusting for the mother’s age. But non-pregnant women are more than twice as likely to need intensive care and ventilators than non-pregnant women when they contract Covid, Valensky said.

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The CDC also studied 1,634 babies born to mothers immunized against COVID, reporting 45 with birth defects — a rate similar to babies born to healthy mothers. There were also 99 preterm infants, 45 were considered small for their gestational age and 158 required intensive care. Officials found no evidence of rare types or clusters of birth defects.

Researchers at the HealthPartners Institute also told the CDC’s advisory panel that COVID vaccines are not linked to stillbirths. An analysis of the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink found that pregnant people vaccinated against COVID gave 11,300 live and 26 stillbirths from December to July. The majority of stillbirths in the study resulted from placental complications, obstetric complications, and maternal comorbidities.

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