Global News has confirmed an unvaccinated pregnant woman died from COVID-related infection following admission to intensive care at an Edmonton hospital earlier this week.
The woman’s baby was delivered and survived.
Alberta Health could not provide details on the case due to patient confidentiality.
Alberta’s top doctor has been urging those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant to get a full series of COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
She stressed that people who are pregnant are at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19.
“I know there’s a lot of misinformation circulating about whether those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should get COVID-19 vaccines,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday.
“I would like to be clear that there is no evidence of harm from mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
In August, Alberta saw six pregnant women admitted to ICU due to COVID-19, Hinshaw said. All of them were unvaccinated.
“To put this into context, only seven pregnant Albertans were admitted to ICU for COVID-19 during the entire first year of the pandemic, from March 2020 to March 2021.
“In the six cases we saw last month, not only has COVID had severe impacts on the parent’s health, but also the child’s. Five preterm births occurred as early as 29 weeks.
“If you are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or have recently delivered, please get both doses of COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible to offer you and your family the best protection possible.”
Hinshaw also said there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause fertility problems.
“Studies evaluating male and female fertility metrics after COVID-19 vaccines have not identified any harms to reproductive health.”
Hinshaw said Thursday that 1,510 new COVID-19 cases had been identified in Alberta in the last 24 hours out of about 13,800 tests.
Alberta’s positivity rate sat at 11 per cent.
There were 15,977 active cases in Alberta as of Thursday.
There were 679 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19, including 154 being treated in the ICU. That’s up from 647 in hospital and 147 in ICU on Wednesday.
“I recognize that getting vaccinated is a charged topic right now and that there many reasons people have, to this point, chosen not to vaccinate,” said Dr. Verna Yiu, CEO of Alberta Health Services.
“If you have concerns about being immunized and need more information, we have many experts who can help you with factual information.
“You can contact us at 811. If you don’t want to get immunized in order to protect yourself, please consider getting immunized to protect others,” Yiu said.
Nine additional deaths related to COVID-19 were reported on Thursday.
“We have seen many more deaths recently,” Hinshaw said.
“Vaccines are still making a profound difference,” she said, explaining they offer “a high level of protection against infection and an even higher protection against severe outcomes.”
In the last four months, 84 per cent of deaths in Alberta have been in people who were not fully vaccinated.
While there have been some breakthrough cases in those who’ve been fully immunized, “the majority of these severe outcomes are in those who are older or have multiple medical conditions.”
In the last two months, not one fully vaccinated person under the age of 60 has died from COVID-19, Hinshaw said.
“Simply put, we need more Albertans to get immunized.”
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