Watch: Acting Health Secretary, Physician General urge pregnant women to get vaccinated

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Pennsylvania’s Acting Health Secretary and Physician General are urging pregnant women or those who plan to get pregnant to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

“Pregnancy is a vulnerable time,” Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson stated. “The evidence is clear that vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, are safe and effective and do not cause fertility issues in women or men. In fact, COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future.”

During a news conference at UPMC Harrisburg Tuesday, Acting Health Secretary Keara Klinepeter announced that she is pregnant, fully vaccinated and received her booster shot after learning she was pregnant.

The acting health secretary says that she and her husband are expecting a son at the end of June.

“I’m sharing this news publicly, because I want my story to help other women across Pennsylvania make an informed decision,” Acting Secretary Klinepeter said. “I am vaccinated, I am boosted and thanks to scientists, doctors and my great teammates at the Department of Health, I’m confident that it was the right decision.”

The latest CDC report has the most up to date information for those planning to become pregnant, currently pregnant, or breastfeeding. In the report, it notes that COVID-19 vaccines prevent severe maternal morbidity and adverse birth outcomes.

The CDC report also found that women with symptomatic COVID-19 during pregnancy have a more than twofold increased risk for intensive care unit (ICU) admission, invasive ventilation, and a 70 percent increased risk for death, compared with nonpregnant women with symptomatic infections.

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“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been following the science, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and letting that information guide our decision making,” Dr. Johnson continued. “Even with this concrete data on the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy, we know that the virus is continually evolving. That is why the monitoring of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy is ongoing.”

The Department of Health recommends pregnant Pennsylvanians get fully vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible.

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