Pregnant women are having "really good outcomes" after having their COVID-19 vaccinations, so it "makes sense" for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to urge expectant mothers to get their shots, Dr. Ashish Jha said on Newsmax Thursday.
"I've been tracking this data pretty closely," Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "First and foremost, pregnant women if they get COVID, have about six times the risk of having a really bad outcome, so we know COVID is really, really bad ... even though obviously pregnant women tend to be young, healthy people."
The CDC on Wednesday urged all pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine, as hospitals in the nation's hotspots are seeing record numbers of unvaccinated mothers-to-be becoming seriously ill with the virus and in some cases losing their babies.
Vaccines benefitted both the women and their babies, and given the renewed surge of COVID, it makes sense for the CDC to issue the recommendation, said Jha.
Meanwhile, Jha responded to a new study that claims the variants that are being seen with COVID-19 are unusual, saying that actually, variants should come as no surprise because there are so many people getting infected with the disease.
"You're going to see variants that are going to be more contagious because that's going to give them a survival advantage," said Jha. "The biggest problem here is so many people around the world are getting infected that we're giving the virus a chance to form more and more variants."
Jha also commented on the growth of demand for mask and vaccine mandates for children as the nation's schools reopen, saying that the argument shouldn't be turned into a "bureaucrat-versus-parent" fight.
Further, public schools fall under many policy decisions that don't live up to parents' demands, said Jha.
"I can't send my kid to school without measles vaccines," said Jha. "I just can't do it. Even though I wouldn't actually want to, but even if I did, it wouldn't be allowed. And why do we have rules like that? Because we believe that you've got to have relatively safe spaces in schools."
Mask mandates should also be considered as a similar policy decision, said Jha, and be determined on what is best to keep children safe in schools.
"We literally have dozens and dozens of rules about public schools," he said. "The question is, what's the best way to keep kids safe in schools? Yes, I do believe that masking is helpful. That's where the majority of the data lies, and this is not about bureaucrats. It is about public health people making public health decisions."
Jha also pushed back about comments that the Food and Drug Administration will rush to give full approval to vaccines because of pressure.
"They have so much data," said Jha. "They've been sitting on this data for many, many months. There's no rush here. They have literally been looking at this since December. They've had a full application for more than three months. They are going slowly. I want them to go a little faster, not rush and not cut corners."
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