ATLANTA, Ga. (WJZ) — The CDC is strongly urging pregnant people, those who were recently pregnant and people who are thinking about becoming pregnant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, citing the higher risks for expectant people who get the virus.

According to CDC data, through Sept. 27, more than 125,000 pregnant people have had confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 22,000 hospitalizations and 161 deaths. Twenty-two of those deaths occurred in the month of August, the agency said.

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Symptomatic pregnant people with COVID-19 are twice as likely to end up in intensive care and have a 70% increased risk of death, the CDC said. Additionally, the virus leads to increased risk of preterm birth and stillbirth, as well as a newborn being admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit.

Of the pregnant people who have been hospitalized with coronavirus, 97% were unvaccinated, according to the CDC.

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“Pregnancy can be both a special time and also a stressful time – and pregnancy during a pandemic is an added concern for families,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky said. “I strongly encourage those who are pregnant or considering pregnancy to talk with their healthcare provider about the protective benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine to keep their babies and themselves safe.”

Despite the risks, only 31% of pregnant people are full vaccinated against COVID-19, according to CDC data. The vaccination rate is highest among Asian people who are pregnant at 45.7% and second-highest among white people who are pregnant at 33.8%. Hispanic or Latino pregnant people and Black pregnant people have the lowest vaccination rates at 25% and 15.6%, respectively.

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In the U.S. as a whole, 64.4% of the population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 55.8% of Americans are fully vaccinated.

CBS Baltimore Staff