Pregnant women more at risk of severe illness from COVID delta variant

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The urgency to get vaccinated against COVID in the wake of the fast-spreading delta variant is especially pronounced for pregnant women, who are more vulnerable to severe illness.

"We know that pregnant women are more likely to have severe illness and severe symptoms of COVID, and more likely to require ICU admission," said Dr. Carmen Adams, Cook County Health, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Despite that fact, the CDC most recently reported only 22 percent of pregnant individuals have received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"I think that there's a misunderstanding that we don't know enough information about the vaccine and that it might be unsafe and could cause harm to the pregnancy," Adams said.

Adams has made it her mission to inform expectant moms about the vaccine's safety. She fears that with the fast-growing delta variant, women who choose to wait will only put themselves at possibly greater risk.

"If women continue to wait until we have full FDA approval, wait for more information, that's time where they can become exposed," she said.

Adams understands the concerns not just from her role as a physician but also as a mother. She delivered a healthy son earlier this year, getting her shots just before giving birth and then just after her pregnancy.

"I tolerated the vaccine very well, I had only minimal arm soreness from the vaccine," Adams said. "And overall, I really didn't have any side effects from it and so I continue to be healthy and my baby is very healthy."

Just weeks ago the two leading organizations representing specialists in obstetric care issued a joint statement strongly recommending the vaccine. Adams hopes these endorsements, coupled with proper education, will encourage more pregnant women to get the shot, possibly saving their lives and protecting their precious little ones.

"I also just love the added benefit of peace of mind that I think protected my baby as well, and so that makes me feel like I've done something good for him, too," she said.
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