Pregnant people aren’t getting COVID vaccine, health providers worry

Ruth Melgar of Phoenix poses with her second son, born Aug. 25. /Photo courtesy of Ruth Melgar

By Karen Marroquin | Cronkite News

 Giggles fill the room as Ruth Melgar tickles her infant son and gives him kisses. Her 3-year-old son stands by the bed and watches his little brother in amazement. But just a few months ago, with COVID-19 infections surging again, Melgar worried about getting vaccinated while pregnant.

Eight months into her pregnancy, at one of her prenatal visits, the Phoenix mom told her doctor she wanted to get vaccinated. The doctor didn’t hesitate: It’s completely fine to get the vaccine, he said.

Melgar left the clinic relieved, but at her local Walgreens, she was told she couldn’t be vaccinated.

“The pharmacist told me they couldn’t give me the vaccine because I was just a month away from delivering my baby, and since I was having it through a C-section I couldn’t get the vaccine,” Melgar recalled.

She left the pharmacy scared and unvaccinated. Melgar is one of more than 50% of people in the U.S. who have hesitated to get vaccinated while pregnant, and experts say misinformation and lack of information are fueling this hesitancy.

Denise Link, a retired nurse practitioner and a clinical professor emerita at Arizona State University, doesn’t understand why the pharmacist told Melgar she couldn’t receive the vaccine, but she understands why the mother-to-be decided against it.

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