On Wednesday, State Health Officer Dr Thomas Dobbs said 72 fetal deaths have occurred among unvaccinated pregnant women infected with the virus.
This number only includes deaths that occur after 20 weeks’ gestation and not miscarriages, which occur prior to 20 weeks.
‘[This is] twice the background rate of what we would’ve expected’ prior to the pandemic, Dobbs said at a news conference.
‘That’s quite a number of tragedies that, sadly, would be preventable right now.’
Doctors hope this serves as a warning and can help convince pregnant women, who are at a greater risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19, to get vaccinated.
Mississippi health officials said on Wednesday that stillbirths among unvaccinated pregnant women infected with COVID-19 have doubled with at least 72 deaths, twice as many as the usual rate
As of Wednesday, only 24.8 percent of pregnant people have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to CDC data.
This is despite several studies finding that expecting mothers are more vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19 or death than the general population.
One study last month from the University of California, Irvine Medical Center found that women undergoing childbirth while infected with COVID-19 were 5.7 times more likely to end up in intensive care units at 5.2 percent compared to 0.9 percent of women without Covid.
Additionally, about 0.1 percent of mothers with the virus died in comparison with 0.01 percent of those who weren’t infected, a 10-fold difference.
Dobbs also announced at the news conference that the state is investigating the deaths of eight pregnant women who had contracted COVID-19.
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The eight deaths have occurred over the span of four weeks as a surge of cases fueled by the Delta variant has ravaged the state.
Many of the women had to undergo emergency Caesarean sections.
‘And we’re talking C-sections in the ICU so you can get the baby out before the mom dies,’ he said at a separate press conference on Tuesday.
Last month, the CDC encouraged pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after previously saying pregnant women were just ‘eligible’
The agency amended its recommendation after studies found that COVID-19 vaccines do not increase the risk of miscarriage.
Two new studies released on Wednesday found women who suffered miscarriages were not more likely to have received a COVID-19 vaccine than women who were still pregnant.
On Wednesday, Dobbs and other health officials urged pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
State Epidemiologist Dr Paul Byers said his own daughter got immunized while pregnant and safely delivered a healthy baby.
‘We encourage you to please get vaccinated,’ he said.
‘That’s going to be the best way to ensure that you and your babies stay healthy.’
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