Across the country, obstetricians are fighting an uphill battle in their efforts to convince pregnant women to agree to Covid vaccinations. They say misinformation, a false sense of invincibility among patients and a lack of understanding about vaccines have contributed to expectant mothers’ reluctance to get the shot.
The need to vaccinate pregnant women is urgent: They are at risk for pregnancy complications from the coronavirus, with some evidence indicating the virus might increase the chances of stillbirth. They also face a higher chance of requiring intensive care or mechanical ventilation, and nationwide, at least 159 pregnant women have died of Covid since the pandemic began, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Yet pregnant women’s vaccination rates are low: only about 25.1 percent have received at least one dose, according to the CDC, compared to 76.6 percent of adults overall in the United States who have.
"I think most people who are pregnant are generally young and generally healthy, so they don’t really expect that if they were to get this infection, that they could be as sick as we are seeing," said Dr. Brenna Hughes, vice chair of obstetrics and quality in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University. “It’s surprising to me how few people realize it can happen to them until it does.”
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