ORLANDO, Fla. - AdventHealth saw a rise in unvaccinated pregnant women in their hospital, particularly during the height of the delta variant. Two women tell FOX 35 News that they were hesitant to get the vaccine while pregnant but ultimately changed their minds.
Now that Michele Smith’s little boy, Clark, is here, she’s grateful she got vaccinated when she did.
"Even the stress around it for me went down and that was probably beneficial to the baby," said Smith.
But it was not an easy decision for her. When she first found out she was pregnant, she thought, "Why would I get this vaccine that was just newly created and just put this in my body?"
She’s not alone. According to health officials, only 30% of pregnant women have been vaccinated, which is why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now issuing its strongest warning so far about the effects of the delta variant on pregnant women. They say more than 17% of all COVID cases involving pregnancy result in hospitalization or death. The CDC is urging pregnant women to get vaccinated.
"We now have data that demonstrates that the vaccines in whatever time in pregnancy or lactating that they're given are actually safe and effective," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
Once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine for pregnant women, Michele Smith got the shot at 28 weeks pregnant.
Shelby Maniccia also waited to get vaccinated.
"He was like ‘No, they’re saying it’s all good to go.’ And I was like ‘Perfect.’"
She had an appointment for the vaccine when she found out she was pregnant and then canceled. She waited until she was 16 weeks along, concerned that the possible side effect of fever from the vaccine could harm her baby. Shortly after she was vaccinated, the delta variant came.
"I don’t feel bulletproof by any means, but it’s a huge relief to know I have the best level of protection that I can," said Maniccia."
"I just did not want to become another statistic of pregnant women ending up in the hospital and having an adverse outcome," said Smith.
Smith’s son is two weeks old now and he is healthy.
Maniccia is 30 weeks pregnant.
Both women say they had minimal or no reaction at all to the vaccine.
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