Why Pregnant People Were Left Behind While Vaccines Moved at ‘Warp Speed’ to Help the Masses

Kia Slade was seven months pregnant, unvaccinated, and fighting for breath, her oxygen levels plummeting, when her son came into the world last May.

A severe case of covid pneumonia had left Slade delirious. When the intensive care team tried to place an oxygen mask on her face, she snatched it away, she recalled. Her baby’s heart rate began to drop.

Slade’s doctor performed an emergency cesarean section at her bedside in the intensive care unit, delivering baby Tristan 10 weeks early. He weighed just 2 pounds, 14 ounces, about half the size of small full-term baby.

But Slade wouldn’t meet him until July. She was on a ventilator in a medically induced coma for eight weeks, and she developed a serious infection and blood clot while unconscious. It was only after a perilous 2½ months in the hospital, during which her heart stopped twice, that Slade was vaccinated against covid-19.

“I wish I had gotten the vaccine earlier,” said Slade, 42, who remains too sick to return to work as a special education teacher in Baltimore. Doctors “kept pushing me to get vaccinated, but there just wasn’t enough information out there for me to do it.”

A year ago, there was little to no vaccine safety data for pregnant people like Slade, because they had been excluded from clinical trials run by Pfizer, Moderna, and other vaccine makers.

Lacking data, health experts were unsure and divided about how to advise expectant parents. Although U.S. health officials permitted pregnant people to be vaccinated, the World Health Organization in January 2021 actually discouraged them from doing so; it later reversed that recommendation.

Read the full article from KFF.