Pregnant people nearly twice as likely to develop breakthrough COVID, study suggests

Pregnant person.
(Image credit: Adene Sanchez)

Results from a new study suggest pregnant people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 are almost twice as likely to develop breakthrough COVID than those who are not pregnant, The Washington Post reports.

In fact, fully-vaccinated pregnant people "have the greatest risk of developing COVID among a dozen medical states, including being an organ transplant recipient and having cancer," per the Post. The study was based on the medical records of roughly 14 million U.S. patients from the time vaccines first became available.

Findings underscore other research showing how pregnant people or individuals that gave birth recently and contracted COVID are "especially prone" to getting seriously ill from the virus. But this new study extends beyond what "was previously understood" in that it suggests even fully-vaccinated pregnant people "tend to have less protection from the virus than many other patients with significant medical problems."

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"If you are fully vaccinated, that's magnificent," said a lead author of the study, David Little. "But if you are fully vaccinated and become pregnant, you remain at higher risk of acquiring covid."

The analysis found that the 110,000 pregnant people included in the study were "90 percent more likely to have been infected with coronavirus than the same number of people who were not pregnant," the Post writes. Those at the next-highest level of risk were organ transplant recipients. And both of those groups shockingly bested immunocompromised patients, who had 60 percent greater odds of coronavirus infection.

Excluded from these findings, however, is the reasoning behind them. "It's definitely interesting," specialist Denise Jamieson told the Post. "This study asks this question but doesn't answer it." Read more at The Washington Post.

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Brigid Kennedy

Brigid is a staff writer at The Week and a graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Her passions include improv comedy, David Fincher films, and breakfast food. She lives in New York.