CDC estimate: Nearly 84% of all US expectant moms unvaccinated against COVID 19

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- One of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates among any group in America is among expectant mothers.

As of May the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates only 11.1% have been fully vaccinated against the disease.

While only 34.1% of eligible Americans are not currently vaccinated against COVID, those latest numbers from the CDC show more than 83.7% of pregnant women are unvaccinated.

Some experts and healthcare workers believe unfounded fears may be behind the low rate of vaccinations among expectant moms.

"There wasn't any evidence of moms, you know, having a negative effect from the vaccine. And, in fact, it was a big protection against this potential risk," Lwiza Escobar Garcia told ABC 11.

Escobar Garcia, who works for the Wake County Health Department, was trying to get pregnant with her second child when she got her first shot of a COVID-19 vaccination.

RELATED: Pregnant healthcare workers weigh the odds before receiving COVID-19 vaccine

A week after her second shot, she found out she was indeed pregnant. But because of her job, she has access to a lot of information that other pregnant women may not--including her own relatives.

"I have family members that were pregnant, and while the vaccines were available to them, they chose not to because they were making a decision based on fear," she said.

WakeMed OB-GYN Darlene Esper, a mom herself, agrees with Escobar Garcia's assessment that fear is playing a role in the limited vaccinations among expectant mothers.

"Education is key," she said.

Dr. Esper reminded her patients that while no pregnant women were recruited for the vaccine trials, some did get pregnant during the trials and had no reported complications.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccines provide protection for pregnant and lactating women, newborns: Study

She also told her patients about CDC statistics showing no serious issues with the nearly 100,000 pregnant women who have been vaccinated.

"A little over 800 women have already shown completed pregnancies, and we have not seen any harm," Esper added.

Dr. Esper also said studies show the vaccine benefits go beyond protecting both mom and baby from hospitalization and even possible death from COVID-19 during the pregnancy.

"The antibodies pass through the placenta to the fetus," Dr. Esper said, "And also in lactating women, it's passed through the breast milk which is an added benefit of receiving the vaccine while pregnant."

Lwiza Escobar Garcia believes once pregnant women hash out the pros and cons with a healthcare professional, they might view vaccinations differently.

"It's much more scary to face the reality or the potential circumstance of having a severe case of COVID-19 while also being pregnant."
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