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Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

The CDC issued "an urgent health advisory" on Wednesday urging people who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Why it matters: The CDC said it "strongly recommends" vaccination because its benefits for a pregnant person and the fetus outweigh the risks. It added that pregnant people with COVID-19 are at "increased risk" of outcomes such as preterm birth, stillbirth and admission of a newborn into the ICU.

  • The CDC is also calling on health departments and health care professionals to educate pregnant individuals on the safety and effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines.

By the numbers: 31% of pregnant people have been vaccinated against the virus, the CDC said.

  • However, vaccination rates vary by race and ethnicity. Pregnant Asian people have higher rates (45.7%) than Latinos (25%), with Black pregnant people having the lowest rates at 15.6%.
  • There have been more than 125,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in pregnant people as of Monday, including 22,000 hospitalizations and 161 deaths.

Of note: The CDC has also said that there is no evidence to suggest that vaccines can cause infertility.

  • Scientific studies have found that virus antibodies from a pregnant person receiving a vaccine were found in the umbilical cord, meaning that antibodies that could protect babies may be created.

Go deeper

12 hours ago - Health

Illinois mandates daycare workers to receive COVID vaccine or weekly testing

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a round table discussion with high school students in October 2018. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced Friday that all daycare workers in the state will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or or submit to weekly testing.

Driving the news: Pritzker said he was issuing the requirement to protect "babies, toddlers, and young children not yet eligible for the vaccine."

15 hours ago - Health

CDC director: U.S. may change definition of "fully vaccinated" as boosters roll out

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday the U.S. "may need to update" its definition for what it means to have full vaccination against COVID.

The big picture: The CDC and the FDA have officially approved boosters with every authorized vaccine in the U.S. for people who meet specific requirements. Walensky explained that since not everyone is eligible for a booster, the definition has not been changed "yet."

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
22 hours ago - Health

Experts predict an easier COVID winter this year

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

This winter probably won't bring another crushing COVID wave, experts say.

Why it matters: Last winter was the deadliest phase of the pandemic, and many Americans are braced for cold weather to once again usher in a surge in cases and deaths. But there are good reasons to think this year won't be nearly as bad.