Most pregnant women in the U.S. have yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As of Aug. 21, about 3 in 4 pregnant women aged 18-49 were unvaccinated, or in other words, 23.9% overall received at least one dose, per data from the agency’s Vaccine Safety Datalink. Vaccination coverage was reported lowest among Hispanic/Latina (19.2%) and Black pregnant women (11.7%), with higher coverage reported among Asian (35.2%) and White pregnant women (26.6%).
“Vaccination among pregnant people remains low,” the health agency wrote in part in the COVID Data Tracker weekly update on Aug. 20. “This low uptake persists despite recent increases in COVID-19 cases in pregnant people.”
The CDC on Aug. 11 strengthened a recommendation for use of COVID-19 vaccines among pregnant women, after a new study indicated no heightened risk of miscarriage among women who received the shot during early pregnancy. The analysis stemmed from additional safety data on 2,456 women who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy, with results indicating an approximate 13% miscarriage rate, within the expected rate of about 11% to 16% in the general population.
“CDC encourages all pregnant people or people who are thinking about becoming pregnant and those breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky previously said. “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 outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people.”
As of Aug. 23, the agency reported 109,773 total COVID-19 cases among pregnant women and 131 deaths.
The recent full FDA approval awarded to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should boost confidence in the shot, according Dr. Martin Tucker, president of the the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
In a statement issued earlier this week, Tucker said: “With today’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensure of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, clinicians can feel even more confident in recommending vaccination for their patients, including pregnant patients. All eligible individuals, including those who are pregnant, should feel similarly confident in being vaccinated against COVID-19.”