Pregnant robots

The Guardian is trolling us.

Pregnant and breastfeeding people are facing abysmal vaccination rates and increasing health risks from the Delta variant, and they urgently need to be vaccinated, experts warn.

Only one-third of pregnant adults in the US have received the Covid vaccines – less than half the vaccination rate of all American adults. And stark disparities exist among different communities, with only 15.6% of Black pregnant people vaccinated so far.

At the same time, pregnancy is a risk factor for serious illness from the coronavirus. Being pregnant and unvaccinated doubles the risk of needing intensive care for those who have Covid, and leads to a 70% increased risk of death. In August alone, 22 pregnant people died from the virus.

It’s also important to vaccinate breastfeeding parents, both to form a cocoon of immunity around newborns and to pass antibodies through the milk, experts say.

New research reveals the Delta variant is hitting pregnant people harder than ever before. A study published this month found the hospitalization rate for pregnant patients more than doubled since last year, because of the Delta variant.

The byline on this contemptible Newspeak garbage is Melody Schreiber. Why the Guardian editors allow it (or do they mandate it?) is more than I can figure out.

“We’re very concerned that this is hitting a relatively under-vaccinated group because pregnant patients have lagged behind the rest of the population in getting the vaccine. And because they’re more vulnerable to severe illness – it’s bad now,” Adhikari told the Guardian.

Anna Euser was 32 weeks pregnant when the shot was offered to her late last year, and she took it immediately.

At that time, there were no data from the clinical trials about how well the vaccines worked in pregnant people. But Euser is an obstetrician/gynecologist and an associate professor of maternal fetal medicine for the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She had seen first-hand the way Covid wreaks havoc on pregnant people and their families.

She may have known they were women, too, but we can’t be sure.

Now, thanks to volunteers like Euster, we do have data on how safe and effective the vaccines are among pregnant and nursing people. She was one of 827 participants in a study finding the vaccines were very safe.

But because of the rise of cases and lagging vaccination rates, Euser is now having difficult conversations with some of her unvaccinated patients: what happens if they need to deliver the baby early to help the parent fight off Covid? Who will make decisions for the baby if the parent is intubated and can’t talk?

“We really are trying to do the best for our patients and recommend vaccination, but there’s a lot of baseline hesitancy in many people,” Euser said.

Part of the reason is because pregnant and breastfeeding people are frequently bombarded by misinformation and disinformation campaigns.

“We’re dealing with coordinated misinformation campaigns, and they definitely target pregnant people,” Dr Cecília Tomori, director of global public health and community health at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, told the Guardian. “Fertility, reproduction and children are main anti-vax targets from way back.”

I wonder if Euser and Tomori really did say “people” when they meant “women,” or if Schreiber altered what they said.

Now, amid the wave of cases and deaths, experts are pleading with pregnant and breastfeeding people to speak with trusted sources of information, like their doctors, about getting vaccinated.

I hope the experts are not doing that while erasing the words “women” and “mothers” from their vocabulary.

Note: the word “women” doesn’t appear once in the article or headline or subhead. Zero.

Updating to add a pathetic detail from Melody Schreiber’s About Me page:

Melody reported on health and gender in Rwanda in 2019 on a reporting fellowship with the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF). 

So she’ll accept a fellowship from a women’s foundation, but she won’t use the word “women” in an article on pregnancy and COVID.

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