CLEVELAND (WJW)- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged pregnant women to get a COVID-19 vaccination, but hesitancy remains a challenge to overcome, according to a local health center focused on serving under-resourced communities.
Care Alliance Health Center President and CEO Dr. Claude Jones said he is working to dispel myths surrounding the vaccine, including one of the most prominent misconceptions, falsely linking vaccinations to infertility.
“There’s no increased risk of abortion, miscarriages with the vaccine,” Jones said. “However, we do know the COVID virus itself can cause an increase in preterm deliveries, miscarriages and spontaneous abortions.”
Jones said waiting to get vaccinated while pregnant can put both the mother and fetus at risk for poor health outcomes.
According to the CDC, there is no evidence any vaccine, including a COVID vaccination, results in fertility problems for men or women. A CDC advisory issued in September encouraged vaccination before or during pregnancy stating the benefits, “Outweigh known or potential risks.”
“The vaccine can help you develop antibodies that can actually move across the placenta to the fetus,” said Jones about the protection the vaccine offers.
One of the biggest challenges Care Alliance is working to combat in addition to misinformation are significant gaps in education among patients.
The health center serves a majority minority population, often living in areas considered medically underserved where health care can be difficult for many to access, explained Jones.
“I think it’s also very important to recognize our population,” said the doctor. “Many individuals aren’t able to read you know the package inserts or really go to the CDC site and really understand what the information says.”
Health literacy he said remains critical to reaching patients often targeted with misinformation related to the vaccine.
“We need to make sure we identify these areas, continue to use good data to identify those hotspots where vaccination rates are low, continue to do the pop ups and continue to get out there as much as we can,” Jones said.
Care Alliance reports administering more than 6,000 vaccinations. The center’s staff continues to plan popup vaccination events.