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Pregnant women in Alabama encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccination


Alabama still ranks near the bottom for COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S. States and territories.

Data from the Pathcheck Foundation puts Alabama last among U.S. States and just ahead of Puerto Rico and the Marshall Islands. Health care providers in the state are working to reassure residents about getting a COVID-19 shot. That includes pregnant women.

Dr. Jodie Dionne-Odom is an infectious specialist at UAB. She said recent COVID-19 vaccine testing on pregnant women shows its safe and effective.

“About 19,000 of these women got Pfizer, and about 16,000 women got Moderna vaccine," she said. "These are both MRNA vaccines. And when they looked at the safety of the women and safety of the babies, it looked very reassuring.”

MRNA vaccines cause cells to create a protein that triggers an immune response in each patient. Dionne-Odom said pregnant women are particularly in need of protection from COVID-19.

“Unfortunately, women who are pregnant who get COVID-19 have a higher risk of having severe disease," she said. "If you look at the priority groups that the CDC recommends for vaccination because of that risk, obesity, diabetes, hypertension—pregnancy is on that list as well."

New data from the Pathfinder Foundation puts the state just ahead of Puerto Rico and the Marshall Islands for the number of shots administered. Alabama has vaccinated just under 33 percent of its population.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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