Alberta Health Services strongly urges pregnant Albertans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after six unimmunized pregnant women were admitted to intensive care units in August.
“In the six cases last month, COVID-19 had severe impacts on the parent’s health, as well as the child’s. Five preterm births occurred as early as 29 weeks,” said AHS in a statement.
AHS said that compares to only seven pregnant Albertans admitted to ICU for COVID-19 during the entire first year of the pandemic from March 2020 to March 2021.
“COVID-19, particularly the Delta variant, is highly infectious and pregnant individuals are at a higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. Immunization is the best way to protect mother and child,” AHS said.
“We know that if you are pregnant and you do get COVID, you can get sicker than others who are not pregnant and the same age. There are statistics out there,” said Dr. Peter Bouch, with Red Deer Primary Care Network.
“I would suggest that pregnant ladies get the vaccine because if they do get COVID they can become quite sick.”
He said he has not heard of anyone who has been really sick in central Alberta. A couple of his pregnant patients have had COVID and were fine, but one women in the province has died.
Bouch said the birth rate in Red Deer has remained fairly steady during the pandemic and the majority of his patients, pregnant or not, have been vaccinated.
He said the maternity ward at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre is still managing fine during COVID, and there are some rooms that can be used to isolate patients.
AHS recommended that those who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or have recently delivered, get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
“Vaccines make your immune system stronger by building antibodies to help prevent disease. Immunization allows immunity to be passed from mother to infant, helping to protect your baby for the first few months of life,” AHS said.
Bouch recommended they get vaccinated in the second or third trimester. Even getting vaccinated while breast feeding is fine.
“Most of the (COVID) information out there isn’t very clear. There’s not a lot of pregnancy information. Speaking to your doctor is always a good idea.”