Pregnant women reluctant to get COVID vaccine as cases climb

Michigan's COVID-19 cases are leading to packed hospitals with patients in need of medical attention, including pregnant women as some are reluctant to get the vaccine.

All of Michigan is seeing an influx in COVID-19 cases. Across Beaumont Health's 8 hospitals, 18 women are COVID-19 positive who have just given birth or are still pregnant, including one who is on a machine that is, essentially, breathing for her. 

Doctor Brian Torock is the Chief of Obstetrics/Gynecology at Troy Beaumont and said they've seen a surge in cases among pregnant women over the past few weeks.

"Its really spiked. I think out of my past 10 deliveries, I think 3 or 4 of them have been COVID positive," Dr. Torock said. "We had a stretch not long ago where we had more pregnant women that were COVID-positive pregnant women than COVID-negative on our delivery board."
Dr. Torock said there's one mother with COVID-19 and is on an ECMO machine, which pumps and oxygenates a patient’s blood outside the body to give the lungs a chance to rest. 
"Some women have been in the ICU and intubated at time of delivery," he said. "They can’t push so you have to actually do an operative delivery with either forceps or vacuum."
The doctor says vaccine hesitancy is a contributor, but now, he’s seeing more pregnant women getting vaccinated, which follows the recommendation from the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. Early research shows the vaccine can pass antibodies to the fetus and also through breast milk after the baby is born.

Jillian Alexander, who is set to deliver any time now, was one of those hesitant moms and she’s a health care worker.  
"At that point, I felt like there wasn’t a whole lot of information, research, data supporting that it would be safe. I said I’ll hold off and see what happens," she said.

At the advisement of her midwife, she decided to get it four months after she was first eligible.
"if the baby can have some protection from COVID, I was like sign me up and I got my first dose the following week," she said.
Beaumont Doctors are urging moms-to-be to be extra cautious right now.