CDC: Unvaccinated pregnant women are being hospitalized, dying at alarming rates

The CW39 Houston

FILE – In this May 7, 2020 file photo, a pregnant woman wearing a face mask and gloves holds her belly as she waits in line for groceries at St. Mary’s Church in Waltham, Mass. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged all pregnant women Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021 to get the COVID-19 vaccine as hospitals in hot spots around the U.S. see disturbingly high numbers of unvaccinated mothers-to-be seriously ill with the virus. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, file)

HOUSTONTexas (KIAH)  — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women who are unvaccinated are facing high risks of being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19.

The CDC issued an urgent health advisory on Monday because the numbers of pregnant women being hospitalized and dying are increasing. Nation-wide since Sept. 27 of this year, there were more than 125,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in pregnant women. More than 22,000 were hospitalized and 161 died. In August, 22 unvaccinated pregnant women with COVID-19 died.

While the overall numbers sound small, the risk for unvaccinated pregnant women who become infected is not. If they develop symptoms, they have a two-time greater risk of admission into intensive care and a 70 percent increased risk of death. And with almost 70% of pregnant women nationwide not vaccinated, the CDC also says they are at increased risk for pre-term birth, hospitalization, intensive care, need for a ventilator and death.


The CDC reports some of the lowest numbers of vaccinations among pregnant women is among minority communities.

  • Only 15.6% of pregnant African American women have been vaccination nationwide.
  • Only 25% pregnant of pregnant Hispanic women are vaccinated.
  • 45.7% of pregnant Asian-American women have been vaccinated, which is the highest vaccination rate of minority pregnant women.

Many pregnant women, and those trying to get pregnant, have hesitated to get vaccinated against COVID-19 because they worry about risks to their health and their unborn child’s. Tests and clinical trials for all three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) show the vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their unborn children and that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Locally, Harris County Public Health (HCPH) strongly encourages all pregnant women and those trying to get pregnant, to get vaccinated.

COVID-19 vaccines are free and HCPH vaccine sites and while appointments are not required, they are recommended.

Parents must accompany their children, ages 12-17, to be vaccinated or children must bring a consent form signed by a parent or guardian. 12 to 17-year-olds are eligible for the two-dose Pfizer vaccine. Parents with children under 12 are encouraged to get them tested frequently to see if they have the virus. Testing is free at HCPH sites. Appointments are not required, but are recommended because the number of people getting tested has been increasing.

For more information, go to or call 832-927-8787.

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Harris County COVID-19 threat level
Harris County COVID-19 threat level


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