Mississippi health officials are sounding the alarm that some pregnant women are being rejected when they receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccines are considered safe and effective for pregnant women, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged expectant mothers to get the injections.
However, some health care providers refuse to give women the shots when they arrive at the clinic and reveal that they are carrying a child.
State officials are a problem because pregnant women are more likely to experience severe symptoms and even death from the virus, and if they don’t get vaccinated, they could be exposed to infections.
Some pregnant women report being turned down at Mississippi vaccination clinics. They are among the least vaccinated in America, with only 25% getting the injections. Pictured: A pregnant woman in Provo, Utah, receives a vaccine against COVID-19
“Some patients had told us they had been vaccinated and were rejected because they were pregnant,” Dr. Michelle Owens, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), ABC news.
Some of these pregnant women have ended up in the hospital, where they inform doctors about the reason they were not vaccinated.
An expert told ABC that some doctors may not be comfortable giving drugs to pregnant people, not even a vaccine.
“People are quite unfavorable to pregnant patients when they come in. They are hesitant to give drugs to pregnant patients, and sure, vaccinations are included,” said Dr. Marty Tucker, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at UMMC.
State officials hope to resolve the issue and have issued advice to vaccine providers in the state to allow pregnant women to get the shots.
“The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and CDC strongly support vaccination of pregnant women as an effective way to prevent death and adverse outcomes,” wrote State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs in a pronunciation on Sept 9.
‘COVID-19 vaccines are safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.’
Dobbs also noted that a minority of pregnant women in the state have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Pregnant women are one of the least likely groups to have been vaccinated against COVID-19, and only 25 percent have received the injections.
This is because the CDC initially did not explicitly recommend that pregnant women get vaccinated and instead said they were “eligible.”
In August, the CDC said it had received enough data to determine that the vaccine did not increase the risk of miscarriage and urged pregnant women to get vaccinated.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 21,000 women have contracted the virus and 155 have died.
Women who contract the virus while pregnant are also at an increased risk of preterm birth or other negative health effects at birth.
“There are NICUs all over the country that are full of babies who are not going to meet their mothers, and that is devastating,” Owens told ABC.
“There are families who lose their matriarchs, and then there are women who have been infected by this virus and who will never be the same.”
Many experts have noted that the Delta variant seems to hit pregnant women especially hard, and some have a rapid decline in their physical condition after infection.
“We see that women, who may not have other comorbid conditions, are affected at an earlier gestational age,” Owens said.
“Most of the people we see now are affected in the middle of their pregnancy, and they have a much more aggressive form of the disease.
“Before you know it, they’re progressing very quickly and needing intubation.”