For much of the pandemic, experts have cautioned certain groups of people, including people over 65 and those with pre-existing conditions, that they’re at an increased risk of experiencing severe illness if they get COVID. Now, a new study has found that one group of people has a higher risk of getting coronavirus in general. Keep reading to find out if you’re more likely to contract COVID, and for ways to stay healthy, Inhaling This Could Reduce Your Severe COVID Risk 90 Percent, Study Finds.
A study published on Feb. 15 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found that if you’ve gotten pregnant recently, you could be at a higher risk of contracting COVID. According to the study, the COVID infection rate was 70 percent higher in pregnant people than other similarly aged adults in Washington state. Using data, the researchers estimated that 13.9 of every 1,000 people who delivered a child had COVID, as compared to 7.3 percent of every 1,000 state residents between the ages of 20 and 39. And for more on coronavirus risk factors, If You Have This in Your Blood, You May Be Safe From Severe COVID.
This study concludes that there’s a case to be made for pregnant people to be put on priority vaccination lists. The researchers noted that their findings “coupled with a broader recognition that pregnancy is a risk factor for severe illness and maternal mortality strongly suggests that pregnant people should be broadly prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine allocation in the U.S.”
While some states have included pregnant people in the next phase of priority vaccination, others have left them out. In a Feb. 15 statement from the University of Washington, study co-author Kristina Adams Waldorf, MD, said, “The vaccine distribution plans vary quite a bit, state-by-state, and pregnant women are written out of the allocation prioritization in about half of U.S. states. Many states are not even linking their COVID-19 vaccine allocation plans with the high-risk medical conditions listed by the CDC—which include pregnancy.” And for more coronavirus news, Don’t Do This Until a Month After Your COVID Vaccine, Experts Warn.
When researchers tried to identify why pregnant people were getting infected at a higher rate, they looked at their environments. “Higher infection rates in pregnant patients may be due to the overrepresentation of women in many professions and industries considered essential during the COVID-19 pandemic—including healthcare, education, service sectors,” lead author Erica Lokken, PhD, said in a statement. “Pregnant women may also have larger households, children in daycare or playgroups, and be caregivers within an extended family.”
Additionally, the state of your immune system while pregnant could contribute to the increased rate of infection. “While not considered an immunosuppressed condition, pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of disease severity for some infections and potentially, acquisition risk,” per the study. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
The study found that the COVID infection rate of pregnant people was higher in non-white populations. “Our data indicates that pregnant people did not avoid the pandemic as we hoped that they would, and communities of color bore the greatest burden,” Adams said in the statement. According to the study, the greatest disparities were found among Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander women. And for news on vaccine availability, This Is Who Can Get the Leftover Vaccine at Walgreens, CVS, & Walmart.