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CDC issues advisory urging pregnant people to get COVID vaccine

More pregnant people died from COVID-19 in August than in any other month of the pandemic, according to the CDC.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory Wednesday, urging pregnant people and those who are trying to get pregnant to vaccinate themselves against COVID-19.

The CDC updated its vaccine guidance at the beginning of August, recommending the shot for all pregnant people and those planning to become pregnant. Pregnant people are at increased risk of severe illness from the coronavirus, and the CDC found pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of pre-term birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes.

The CDC also said Wednesday that there were 22 COVID-19-related deaths in pregnant people in August, the most for any single month of the pandemic. The CDC also found that 97% of pregnant people who were hospitalized because of COVID-19 were unvaccinated.

There has been some vaccine hesitancy among pregnant people, partly due to misinformation about potential impacts on fertility.

“Somehow out there the rumors have spread that it affects fertility and affects pregnancy when in fact really the reverse is the case,” infectious disease expert Dr. Steve Threlkeld said.

Also on Wednesday, YouTube announced a sweeping ban of any such vaccine misinformation on its platform.

The CDC isn't the only major health organization encouraging pregnant people to get vaccinated. Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine both recommend the shot as well.

"Pregnancy can be both a special time and also a stressful time - and pregnancy during a pandemic is an added concern for families," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. "I strongly encourage those who are pregnant or considering pregnancy to talk with their healthcare provider about the protective benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine to keep their babies and themselves safe."