Mississippi health officials are sounding the alarm about some pregnant women being turned away when they go get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccines are deemed safe and effective for pregnant women, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been urging expectants mothers to receive the shots.
However, some providers have been refusing to give women the jabs when they arrive at the clinic and reveal they are carrying a child.
State officials this is a problem because pregnant women are more likely to suffer severe symptoms and even death from the virus, and failing to get vaccinated could leave them exposed to infection.
Some pregnant women report being turned away from vaccine clinics in Mississippi. They are among the least vaccinated group in America, with only 25% having received the shots. Pictured: A pregnant woman in Provo, Utah, receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot
‘Some of the patients had reported to us that they had gone to be vaccinated, and were turned away because they were pregnant,’ Dr Michelle Owens, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), told ABC News.
Some of these pregnant women have ended up hospitalized, where they are notifying doctors the reason they are unvaccinated.
One expert told ABC that some physicians may not be comfortable with giving drugs to pregnant people, even a vaccine.
‘People are kind of adverse to pregnant patients when they come in. They’re hesitant to give pregnant patients medications, and certainly, vaccinations kind of fall into that,’ said Dr Marty Tucker, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at UMMC.
State officials are hoping to rectify the issue, and issued an advisory to vaccine providers in the state to allow pregnant women to receive the jabs.
‘The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and CDC strongly support vaccination of pregnant women as an effective way to prevent death and adverse outcome,’ State Health Officer Dr Thomas Dobbs wrote in a statement on September 9.
‘COVID-19 vaccines are safe during pregnancy and lactation.’
Dobbs also noted that a minority of pregnant women in the state are vaccinated for COVID-19.
Pregnant women are one of the least likely groups to have been vaccinated for COVID-19, with only 25 percent having received the shots.
This is because the CDC initially did not explicitly recommend that pregnant women get vaccinated and instead said they were ‘eligible.’
In August, the CDC declared that it had received enough data to determine the vaccine did not increase the risk of miscarriage and urged pregnant women to get vaccinated.
Since the pandemic began, more than 21,000 women have contracted the virus and 155 have died.
Women who contract the virus while pregnant are also at an increased risk of giving birth prematurely or suffering other negative health outcomes at birth.
‘There are NICUs all over this country that are filling up with babies who will not get to know their moms, and that’s devastating,’ Owens told ABC.
‘There are families who are losing their matriarchs, and then, there are women who have been infected by this virus who won’t ever be the same.’
Many experts have noted that the Delta variant seems to be hitting pregnant women especially hard, and some are having their physical condition rapidly deteriorate after infection.
‘We are seeing women, who may not have other co-morbid conditions, being affected at an earlier gestational age,’ Owens said.
‘Most of the people who we’re seeing now, are affected in the middle of their pregnancy, and they have a much more aggressive form of the disease.
‘The next thing you know, they end up progressing very quickly to need intubation.’