A South Carolina mother-of-three who was hestitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant ended up nearly dying from the virus — but now, after 95 days, she has finally left the hospital and is urging other pregnant women to get vaccinated.
Cierra Nicole Abbington-Chubb, 33, was expecting her third child with her husband, Jamal, but didn’t think there was enough evidence that the COVID-19 jabs were safe for pregnant women, so she skipped the jab.
But after her two young children tested positive for the virus this summer, she, too, got sick, and was hospitalized with a case so severe that she actually died and had to be revived.
Cierra gave birth to her son, Myles, while hospitalized, but was still fighting for her life until last week, when she was move to a rehab facility after three months.
Risky: South Carolina’s Cierra Nicole Abbington-Chubb, 33, was expecting her third child this summer when she contracted COVID-19
Pandemic: Her daughter picked it up at camp, and Cierra was unvaccinated and waiting for more studies to be done on the vaccine’s safety for pregnant women
Sick: On July 24, her 33rd birthday, she was admitted to Prisma Health Richland
Yes! Last week, she left after 95 days in the hospital as hospital staff cheered her on
Though Jamal, a Navy veteran, had been vaccinated earlier this year, Cierra was waiting for more guidance about the safety of the vaccine for pregnant people.
Though many doctors were recommending it at the time, the guidance was not definitive during Cierra’s pregnancy — and she decided to wait.
Since then, the CDC has released new data and recommended that all pregnant and breastfeeding people get the shot.
While pregnant, Cierra did her best to stay safe by mostly staying home and wearing a mask in public — but her seven-year-old daughter, who was ineligible for a vaccine, attended a sports camp where she contracted COVID-19.
The Chubbs’ two-and-a-half-year-old son soon tested positive as well, and then Cierra also tested positive.
On July 24, her 33rd birthday, she was admitted to Prisma Health Richland.
Waiting: Though Jamal, a Navy veteran, had been vaccinated earlier this year, Cierra was waiting for more guidance about the safety of the vaccine for pregnant people
Do it! Now both she and Jamal are promoting the vaccine for pregnant women, urging others to listen to the CDC’s recommendation, which was made in August
Early: Cierra gave birth at 38 weeks, two days after she was hospitalized, welcoming a healthy baby boy via emergency C-section
Her little boy: She finally got to hold her newborn at the end of September
Just two days later, at 38 weeks pregnant, Cierra delivered Myles early via emergency C-section because he was in distress. Fortunately, he was born healthy and COVID-free.
Since then, Jamal has been providing updates on TikTok and Instagram, sharing the news that Cierra had been put in a medically-induced coma and and on a ventilator after a week in the hospital.
‘COVID had consumed her lungs really badly,’ Jamal shared in an tearful video. ‘Maybe two hours after the doctors put her on a vent, I got a phone call from the doctor and he said that it’s not likely that she was gonna make it.
‘The said there was less than a 20 per cent chance that she was gonna make it,’ he said.
At one point, she died and had to be revived.
But things improved overnight, and doctors said they felt better about her chances by the next day. Still, doctors would tell Jamal that Cierra’s lungs were the worst they’d ever seen.
Dangerous: Cierra was put in a medically-induced coma and was on a ventilator, and even died and had to be revived
She’s up! After weeks in a coma, she woke up and started to improve
Improving: In mid-October, Cierra came off the ventilator that had been keeping her alive for months, and slowly got back enough strength to walk
Scary: Her condition continued to improve, but she also developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
‘It feels unreal that she is in a medically-induced coma, heavily sedated, on a ventilator,’ Jamal said.
She was later put on an ECMO machine to help oxygenate her blood, and on August 7, doctors performed a tracheostomy to keep her airway open while she was on the ventilator.
Doctors told Jamal that Cierra was unlikely to come out of her coma — and if she did, she’d never be the same.
But while they suggested Jamal put her on hospice, he was convinced that a higher power would pull through — and on August 17, Cierra woke up.
Her condition continued to improve, and she came off ECMO on September 1. But she also developed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), an often fatal condition in which fluid collects in the lungs’ air sacs and organs are deprived of oxygen.
She finally got to hold her newborn at the end of September, and a few days after that, she took stome steps with the assistance of two nurses.
Outta there! Finally, on her 95th day in the hospital, Cierra left to go to rehab
‘Pregnant women, pregnant people that aren’t vaccinated, look into the vaccination. Protect yourself,’ Jamal said
‘It’s CDC-approved. It’s FDA-approved. And we want what’s best for you,’ he added in another video, with Cierra nodding in approval in the background
In mid-October, Cierra came off the ventilator that had been keeping her alive for months, and slowly got back enough strength to walk on her own with the help of a walker.
Finally, on her 95th day in the hospital, Cierra left to go to rehab.
Now both she and Jamal are promoting the vaccine for pregnant women, urging others to listen to the CDC’s recommendation.
‘I’m not the kind of person who makes videos shaming people into doing things,’ Jamal said. ‘Me telling my story is not about shaming people into getting a vaccine. But I do want people to understand the gravity of what we’re going through and weigh risk in their own personal lives.’
‘Pregnant women, pregnant people that aren’t vaccinated, look into the vaccination. Protect yourself. It’s CDC-approved. It’s FDA-approved. And we want what’s best for you,’ he added in another video, with Cierra nodding in approval in the background.
CDC urges pregnant women to get COVID-19 vaccine after study finds no increased risk of miscarriage
In August, US health authorities urged pregnant women to get inoculated against COVID-19, arguing that the data demonstrates they do not increase the risk of miscarriage.
Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the agency ‘encourages all pregnant people or people who are thinking about becoming pregnant and those breastfeeding to get vaccinated to protect themselves from COVID-19.’
‘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,’ Walensky said.
According to a recent study, only one in four pregnant women has received at least a first dose of a COVID vaccine.
The CDC said an analysis of current data had found there was not an increased risk of miscarriage among nearly 2,500 pregnant women who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine — the type of shots made by Pfizer and Moderna in the United States — before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
It said miscarriage rates among women who received a COVID-19 vaccine were around 13 percent, about the same as the typical miscarriage rate of 11-16 percent of pregnancies.
‘The benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant people outweigh any known or potential risks,’ the CDC said.
‘The increased risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications related to COVID-19 infection among pregnant people make vaccination for this population more urgent than ever,’ it added.