COVID-19 infection rates high in pregnant women from minority communities

Feb. 22, 2021

Pregnant patients from minority communities had a two to fourfold higher prevalence of COVID-19, according to a study from researchers at the University of Washington as reported in a news release.

Specifically, the COVID-19 infection rate among pregnant women was estimated to be 70 percent higher than in similarly aged adults in Washington state, the study found, which was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The study also showed that the number of COVID-19 infections in pregnant patients from nearly all communities of color in Washington was high. There was a twofold to fourfold higher prevalence of pregnant patients with COVID-19 infections from communities of color than expected based on the race-ethnicity distribution of pregnant women in Washington in 2018.

A high number of pregnant women with COVID-19 received their medical care in a language other than English. This indicates that public health outreach to enhance vaccination rates in these communities is crucial.

Researchers said the study is unique in the United States because it is the first to address the question of infection rates in pregnancy in a large population that represents the majority of pregnancies in the state. The data can inform vaccine policy and guide public health workers and physicians in trying to mitigate COVID-19 in vulnerable populations.

The multisite study included 35 hospitals and clinics that compose the Washington State COVID-19 in Pregnancy Collaborative. The group identified 240 pregnant women who acquired COVID-19 from March through June 2020. This number represents all such known cases at the collaborating sites, which account for 61 percent of births in the state each year.

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