The recent reports of COVID-19 deaths in the state of Mississippi are alarming. This rural state with poor infrastructure is struggling with the spread of COVID-19.

September has been particularly brutal as data shows that there are about thirty deaths a day from the virus alone. Sadly, some of these individuals are young mothers. These deaths add to the already burdensome problem of maternal morbidity and mortality in Black women overall. Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state health officer, issued a standing order for pregnant women in Mississippi to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This directive was needed to help prevent the spread of misinformation about vaccinations in pregnancy.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology issued a strong and clear recommendation that all pregnant women be vaccinated against COVID-19. The clinical data is clear that this respiratory virus puts pregnant women at increased risk of severe complications and even death.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), the two leading organizations representing specialists in obstetric care, recommend that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19. The organizations’ recommendations in support of vaccination during pregnancy reflect evidence demonstrating the safe use of the COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy from tens of thousands of reporting individuals over the last several months, as well as the current low vaccination rates and concerning increase in cases. Data have shown that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant people at increased risk of severe complications and even death; yet only about 22% of pregnant individuals have received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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