Auburn, Ala. (EETV) - The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) urges all pregnant women and eligible adolescents 12-17 to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

In addition to hospitalization, pregnant women and children are being treated in intensive care units and placed on mechanical ventilation. From Sept. 10-17, an average of 23 pregnant women and 46 pediatric patients in Alabama were hospitalized each day, three pregnant women and 17 children were treated in ICUs, and an average of 8 pediatric patients were on ventilators daily.

Evidence from tens of thousands of reporting individuals over the past several months has demonstrated the safe use of the COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy. Data review has indicated that COVID-19 infection puts pregnant women at increased risk of severe complications including death. Seven pregnant women have died from COVID-19 in Alabama; three deaths in 2020 and four deaths in 2021. Given the risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy, women who test positive for the virus should immediately speak to their physician about the use of monoclonal antibody treatment to reduce the severity of disease and hospitalization.

In addition, young children are at very high risk for getting and spreading COVID-19, but less than a third of children in the state are vaccinated. The Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for the ages of 12 and up, and it can help keep people from all ages from suffering from COVID symptoms along with catching and spreading the disease. Pediatrician and District Medical Officer Dr. Karen Landers said 6 to 10 percent of children who have had COVID-19 will experience long-term side effects that can last from weeks to months and are of differing severity. Symptoms include inability to concentrate, chronic headaches, shortness of breath, fatigue and heart palpitations.

“I am concerned about the long-term COVID-19 side effects that can be significant for children trying to learn,” Dr. Landers said. “Children don’t always let their parents know how they are feeling, so parents need to be alert to any changes in their children, especially if they know their child has had COVID.”

For more information about COVID-19, visit this website.