JUPITER, Fla. — More than a dozen obstetricians in the Jupiter area said Thursday that too many pregnant women are ending up in the hospital because they are refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The afternoon briefing was led by the chief of obstetrics and gynecology Dr. Dudley Brown.
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“We’re currently in a state of crisis, our hospital is bursting at the seams," Brown said.
The doctors said they are encountering a large number of pregnant women who have misinformation or a fear of the unknown about the vaccine.
“We do face a challenge in breaking through the noise that’s out there by educating them with actual medical data," Brown said.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and multiple other groups released a joint statement earlier this month "strongly" urging all pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
"Pregnant individuals are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection, including death," the ACOG statement said. "With cases rising as a result of the Delta variant, the best way for pregnant individuals to protect themselves against the potential harm from COVID-19 infection is to be vaccinated.
As many as 85 percent of pregnant women are not getting vaccinated, one doctor at the Thursday news conference said, and it's raising alarm bells with some women in the intensive care unit.
The doctors said on average there are between two to five pregnant women hospitalized due to COVID-19 at Jupiter Medical Center every day.
"I'm trying to convince my patients it's better to get the vaccine and deal with 12 hours of side effects than it is to get COVID and be in the ICU," said Dr. Jeffrey Litt.
They are working to tear down the myths about the vaccine, insisting that it's safe for pregnant and nursing women to get the shot.
"The folks that we're trying to appeal to are the folks that have vaccine hesitancy, either maybe because of misinformation, mostly probably because of just the fear of the unknown," Brown said. "We do face a challenge in breaking through the noise that's out there by educating them with actual medical data."
Litt said only about 15 percent of pregnant women are getting the vaccine.
He said women can get the vaccine at any time during pregnancy and among those who do get the shot, they are seeing COVID-19 antibodies being passed on to their babies.
The doctors add that there is no evidence to show the vaccine leads to infertility.
In addition to pregnant women, the ACOG urges women who are planning to become pregnant, lactating and other eligible individuals to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Other doctors who attended Thursday's news conference include:
1) Amanda Colbert, M.D., OB-GYN
2) Sandra Diaz, M.D., OB-GYN
3) Loel Fishman, M.D., OB-GYN
4) Elise Gershman, M.D., OB-GYN
5) Marc Gualtieri, M.D., Fertility Specialist – Reproductive Medicine
6) Jeffrey Litt, M.D., OB-GYN
7) Stephen Livingston, M.D., OB-GYN
8) Jennifer McCarthy, M.D., Endocrinology Specialist and Fertility Specialist
9) Sasha Melendy, M.D., OB-GYN
10) Anthony Shaya, M.D., OB-GYN
11) Samantha Winterrowd, OB-GYN