High number of unvaccinated pregnant women in hospital with COVID-19: Henry

High number of unvaccinated pregnant women in hospital with COVID-19: Henry

British Columbia’s top doctor is pleading with anyone who is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant and unvaccinated against COVID-19 to get their shot as soon as they can.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said hospitals are seeing a high number of COVID-19 patients who are pregnant and unvaccinated at the moment.

“We have a number of young women, pregnant, who are in ICU right now, who are not vaccinated,” Henry said on Tuesday without providing specific data or figures. “We have seen this happen, particularly, since May, when we started to see the Delta [variant] transmitting more easily and we’ve seen the tragic outcomes of that across the province.”

The province’s top doctor said while clinical trials for the vaccines did not include pregnant women, she stressed that based on months worth of data “we also know a lot more about these vaccines” and how safe they are.

“All of the vaccines that are approved in Canada are not only safe but recommended for people who are pregnant, people who are thinking of getting pregnant, and people who are breastfeeding,” she said.

Henry also said a Canadian study is about to be released that will show there is “no increased” risk of complications to either the mom or baby after becoming immunized.

“There are no differences in miscarriages, pre-term births, stillbirths, or birth defects and international data supports this as well,” she said.

According to Henry, more than 90,000 pregnant women in the United States have been vaccinated and a recent study examining their outcomes determined that there were no “major side effects” identified.

“Safety data shows that pregnant people have the same, mostly mild, side effects as everyone else and there were no increased risks of pregnancies complications or neonatal outcomes when you are vaccinated,” said Henry.

What is clear, said Henry, is that the risk of severe illness requiring hospitalization if you get COVID-19 when you are pregnant is significantly higher when that individual is unvaccinated.

“Canadian data, including about 1,500 pregnant people here in British Columbia, and international data, show that significantly worse levels of severe disease … and higher rates of adverse outcomes, things like stillbirths and preterm births,” she said.

At the end of the day, Henry said it is extremely important to get vaccinated, particularly if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or breastfeeding.

“It is highly recommended that pregnant women get the vaccine as soon as possible preferably if you are planning on getting pregnant, before that,” she said.

Henry’s comments come a day after the health officials reported 1,692 cases over a three-day period, lifting active cases to over 5,600 across the entire province. There are 307 people in hospital, with more than half of them in intensive care, and the provincial government’s latest data shows that 85 per cent of cases in hospitals between Sept. 3 and Sept. 16 were individuals who were not fully vaccinated.

Health officials did not announce case data for the current 24-hour period during the Tuesday press conference.


Nicholas PescodNicholas Pescod

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