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British Columbia’s top doctor is encouraging people who are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or breastfeeding to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says 40 pregnant women have received intensive care in the province in the past few months and while that group of people wasn’t included in clinical trials, real-life evidence shows vaccination prevents severe illness and hospitalization.

Henry says she also wants to ensure health-care workers who are in their child-bearing years get vaccinated to protect themselves, their colleagues and others who may be exposed to the virus.

She says there’s no increased risk of complications for immunized pregnant women or to their baby, and international data show no difference in the rates of miscarriage, early birth, stillbirth or other adverse effects.

Henry says the Delta variant has shown unvaccinated pregnant women experience higher rates of stillbirth and pre-term birth, leading to their priority vaccination in many provinces.

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada as well as a national vaccine advisory panel have recommended vaccines for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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