MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – With dozens of pregnant women and kids being hospitalized each day, the Alabama Department of Public Health is continuing to encourage mothers and eligible children to consider the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We’ve had a total of seven pregnant women we know of who’ve died from COVID-19,” Dr. Scott Harris said in a press briefing on Friday. “We actually have, on average, for the past week about 23 pregnant women who are hospitalized with COVID by the way.”
The health department said pregnant women are being treated in intensive care units as well as being placed on mechanical ventilation.
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19,” Dr. Grace Thomas, Medical Officer for Family Health Services, ADPH, said in a press release.
“This guidance includes women planning to become pregnant, who have become or have been pregnant recently, and who are breastfeeding,” she added.
Children also continue to be at risk. ADPH reports less than one-third of Alabama adolescents are vaccinated.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is authorized for children 12 years and up, ADPH states. It is fully approved for those 16 and up.
Six to 10 percent of kids who have had the virus will also have long-term side effects according to Pediatrician and District Medical Officer Dr. Karen Landers.
“I am concerned about the long-term COVID-19 side effects that can be significant for children trying to learn,” Landers said in a press release.
“Children don’t always let their parents know how they are feeling, so parents need to be alert to any changes in their children, especially if they know their child has had COVID,” she stated.
Symptoms can include inability to concentrate, chronic headaches, shortness of breath, fatigue and heart palpitations. ADPH said these side effects can last for weeks or months.
The health department said additional information is available at alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19
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