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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is once again sounding the alarm that pregnant people should get the vaccine, after one of the deadliest months so far for pregnant people who contracted COVID-19.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 125,000 pregnant people have contracted COVID-19, more than 22,000 have been hospitalized, and 161 have died, according to the CDC. (For context, more than 3.7 million babies were born in the U.S. last year.)
Just 31 percent of pregnant people were fully vaccinated either before or during their pregnancy as of September 18, according to the CDC. Roughly 97 percent of those hospitalized during their pregnancy were unvaccinated; as the Delta variant ripped through the unvaccinated population this summer, 22 pregnant people died of COVID-19 in August alone, the CDC said.
The CDC is urging public health agencies and particularly providers to increase their outreach to pregnant people, to recommend getting the vaccine and address their concerns about it. “A strong recommendation from a healthcare provider is a critical factor in COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and can make a meaningful difference to protect the health of pregnant and recently pregnant people and their fetuses/infants from COVID-19,” the CDC said.
Patricia Denise Jackson, a 31-year-old from Phoenix, told her family that she planned on getting vaccinated after giving birth, USA Today reported. But she contracted COVID-19 when she was eight months pregnant and had to have an emergency C-section, giving birth to a daughter who weighed four pounds and seven ounces.
After being intubated, Jackson died from COVID complications on September 13. Her family has started a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of raising her daughter.
Even more deaths have occurred since the end of the CDC’s reporting period. Marrisha Jenkins, a 27-year-old from Decatur, Georgia, was diagnosed with COVID-19 and pneumonia on Sept. 4 and gave birth to her son prematurely three days later, her family said.
On September 23, as she was coming out of quarantine and getting ready to meet her son for the first time, she collapsed; it was later determined that she died of complications from the virus.
Her husband, Joshua Myles, urged pregnant people to get vaccinated in an interview with Atlanta TV station FOX 5.
“At least do your research,” Myles said. “Yes, my son is OK, but I sure would like to have my wife with me.”