The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday officially recommended that people who are pregnant be vaccinated against COVID-19, updating and strengthening previous guidance due to new evidence.
“COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people aged 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future,” CDC said.
The agency’s previous guidance said pregnant people were “eligible” and merely suggested a conversation with their health care provider.
According to the CDC, evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing, and the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
“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,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said.
Concerns about miscarriages due to receiving the mRNA vaccines early in pregnancy were not borne out by the data, CDC said. In people vaccinated before 20 weeks of pregnancy, miscarriage rates were similar to the expected rate generally, the agency said.
Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people, the agency said.
Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes, compared with pregnant people without COVID-19.
The update comes as the nation sees a significant spike in COVID-19 infections due to the delta variant, mostly among the unvaccinated.
Currently, only about 23 percent of people who are pregnant have received at least one shot of a vaccine.
The agency said its recommendation was for all three currently authorized vaccines.
The recommendation from CDC follows an endorsement from two of the nation’s leading women’s health organizations, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM).