Jan 25, 2022 - Health

Pregnant Latinas face higher COVID threat

A woman wearing a medical mask gets a vaccine during an event to get more pregnant women vaccinated in Honduras

A woman gets a COVID-19 vaccine during an event for pregnant women in Honduras in August 2021. Photo: Orlando Sierra/AFP via Getty Images

Pregnant Hispanic women in the U.S. are 2.4 times more likely to get COVID-19 than other women, according to a study from Sutter Health. The nonprofit health care network is urging medical professionals to encourage more vaccinations for Latinas.

Why it matters: Pregnant people with COVID-19 face higher risks of maternal death and of premature births and stillbirths, research shows.

  • Only 42% of all pregnant people had been fully vaccinated in the U.S. until mid-January, according to CDC data. The rate was lower for pregnant Latinas (38%) and Black women (26%).
  • Women who contracted COVID-19 during their pregnancy were more likely to undergo emergency C-sections and be put on respirators, doctors told Axios.
  • Recovery requires time and physical therapy, making the first stages of motherhood even harder.

What to know: Groups like UnidosUS and the Kaiser Family Foundation are using bilingual videos and misinformation-debunking campaigns to encourage Latinas to get vaccinated.

  • Coronavirus vaccines are known to be safe before and during pregnancy, with no proven negative effects on fertility.
  • It is also safe while lactating, which carries the additional benefit of sharing antibodies with the baby through breast milk.

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