Following an increase in the number of pregnant individuals in Intensive Care Units due to complications from COVID-19, the Province announced that as of April 23rd, it has added all pregnant individuals to the “highest risk health conditions” category in the Phase 2 vaccination prioritization guidance. The change means pregnant individuals aged 16 and over can now book an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at one of the health unit’s immunization clinics through the provincial call centre at 1 888 999-6488.
“I am not surprised at the number of complications we are now seeing in pregnant individuals who get infected with COVID-19,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health at the EOHU. “Unfortunately, they also suffered severe complications in the past from other respiratory illnesses like H1N1 and the flu. The vaccine is their best protection against severe illness from COVID-19.”
Pregnant individuals may receive the vaccine at any time during their pregnancy, but it is especially recommended for those in the later stages of pregnancy.
If you are pregnant, it is recommended that you discuss with your healthcare provider about:
- The potential risks and benefits of the vaccine
- The risk of acquiring a COVID-19 infection during pregnancy
- The potential risks and consequences associated with a COVID-19 infection during pregnancy
- The limited evidence from clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines in the pregnant population
While a discussion with your healthcare provider is recommended, it is worth noting that a letter from a healthcare provider is not required for vaccination.
The vaccine and precautionary measures are essential
In light of the increasing number of severe complications seen in pregnant women who get COVID-19, the EOHU is reminding expecting mothers and their family members about the importance of taking precautionary measures to protect themselves and their loved ones.
To reduce the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19, the EOHU recommends that you:
- Practice physical distancing with those outside your household
- Wear a mask when physical distancing is a challenge (and where mandatory)
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Download the COVID Alert app on your phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores
For more information about COVID-19, please consult EOHU.ca/coronavirus and Ontario’s website at Ontario.ca/coronavirus.