A new study shows misinformation about Covid vaccines still fuels fears related to pregnancy.

The CDC estimates that about 30 percent of pregnant women in the United States remain unvaccinated

“We know that pregnant people are at increased risk from Covid-19, but they certainly shouldn’t and shouldn’t die from it,” said Dr. Christopher Zahn, director of the Division of Clinical Practice and Health and Quality at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Kaiser researchers found that among women who were pregnant or planning to become pregnant: 60 percent believed pregnant women should not receive the vaccine or were unsure if this was the case; and about the same number believed or were unsure whether the vaccines had been shown to cause infertility. While just 16 percent said they fully believed the false infertility claim, another 44 percent said they weren’t sure if it was true.

Streams of misinformation during the pandemic have repeatedly disrupted public health campaigns. Previous spikes in untruths have cast doubt on vaccines, masks and the severity of the virus, and undermined best practices for controlling the spread of the coronavirus, health experts said, noting that misinformation is a key factor in vaccine reluctance. dr Vivek Murthy, the US surgeon general, has demanded information from tech companies on the top sources of Covid-19 misinformation.

One reason misinformation about the vaccines and pregnancy may have gained so much traction, experts say, is that the earliest clinical trials of the coronavirus vaccines excluded pregnant women. The lack of study data prompted the CDC and World Health Organization to initially make different recommendations for pregnant women, although vaccination of pregnant women was neither specifically prohibited nor recommended. Other health organizations chose to wait for more safety data from later studies before making an official recommendation for pregnant women to get vaccinated.

“Unfortunately, in the meantime, the information gap has been filled with a lot of misinformation, especially on social media, and it’s been an uphill battle,” said Dr. Tooth. “While we’ve made great strides in enrolling pregnant women over the past year, we’ve also lost a lot of time.”

Researchers have for years pointed to the proliferation of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media as a factor in vaccine reluctance and the lower rates of Covid-19 vaccine adoption in more conservative states.

“The root of this problem is trust, or really, it’s a lack of trust,” said Dr. Sell. “Trusted doctors must help support women to understand the importance of vaccination against Covid as well as their safety. But when people don’t trust authorities, don’t have a vendor to turn to, or generally don’t feel like they have a place to go for good information, this misinformation can fill that void.”

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