NewsLocal NewsCoronavirus


St. Mary's Medical Center uphill battle to get pregnant women vaccinated

'We've allowed politics into medicine and there's no room for that,' doctor says
St. Mary's Medical Staff.PNG
Posted at 10:43 PM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 23:37:58-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Two weeks ago the CDC released new guidance for pregnant women saying they’re more likely to get “severely ill” if they catch COVID and there is no evidence the vaccine would cause fertility problems.

But one area medical center said these facts have done little to quell rumors and fears and they’re on their own quest to reach the most at-risk patients.

St. Mary’s Medical Center OGBYN hospitalist Dr. Jill Hechtman said the Delta variant and misinformation have returned to hospitals with a vengeance.

”People are not listening to their doctors anymore — they’re listening to (social media), friends — people who aren’t really authorities,” Hechtman said.

Just how bad is it?

”Let’s just be honest — we’ve dropped the ball on messaging for this vaccine,” Hechtman said. “We’ve allowed politics into medicine and there’s no room for that. Medicine should be sterile. It should be a relationship with your doctor and patient.”

And she calls it an uphill battle.

“Every single one of the patients I’ve taken to the ICU has said, ‘I wish I had the vaccine,’” she said.

And that information combined with roughly one-in-four expectant moms vaccinated was the motivation for the medical center’s Labor and Delivery Care Team to host a first-ever “Play Date to Vaccinate,” an outreach vaccination and education event with acute name and serious mission. Reaching expectant moms like Jackie Edwards whose 32-weeks pregnant with twins.


“I got vaccinated so I don’t ever have to worry about (a bad) situation when it comes down to getting sick or anything like that,” Edwards said. “It’s better to think about your child’s safety before yours.”

And one less patient that ends up in the ICU according to members of the Labor and Delivery Care team. On Tuesday evening, newly vaccinated patients received gift cards funded by team staff as well as maternity items and education. But Hechtman said the Delta variant carries real increased health risks.

”Admission to the ICU, have a breathing tube put in — a lot of times because of the respiratory status it makes us have to deliver the baby early so for some reason this delta variant is hitting pregnant women very hard,” she said.

To see the latest CDC data on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, click here.