COVID vaccines safely protect pregnant people: the data are in

January 12, 2022

COVID-19 can strike hard and fast — especially when you are pregnant. Alison Cahill, a specialist in maternal–fetal medicine at the Dell Medical School in Austin, Texas, vividly remembers a patient from the first wave of the pandemic who was 26 weeks pregnant and woke up one morning with a cough. Her condition declined so rapidly that she was admitted to hospital that evening. Within six hours, she had been transferred to the intensive-care unit (ICU), where she was sedated so that she could be placed on a heart–lung bypass machine. Owing to safety precautions, her husband had to communicate with the medical team from the parking area.

“When she woke up and started to not feel very well, I don’t think it was within her wildest dreams that by the next morning she would be sedated and by herself in an ICU,” Cahill says. The woman spent a few weeks in the unit before she was finally able to go home.

Health-care professionals were still sharing similar gut-wrenching stories when the Delta variant of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 hit the United States. Cahill’s hospital, for example, was flooded with so many people who rapidly became ill with COVID-19 that the staff had to convert other floors into extra ICUs. But there was one stark difference: COVID-19 vaccines were now readily available. And all of Cahill’s critically ill pregnant patients had refused one.

Read more at Nature.

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