DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 66% of all Americans 12 and older are now fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, but for one eligible group of the population, that percentage is only half as much and they are uniquely vulnerable.

Dr. Parful Patel an OBGYN at Medical Women’s Center, said it’s not news that by nature pregnant women’s immune systems are suppressed, this is why medical experts advise prevention and in this case, the best strategy is vaccines.

“The problems we are seeing are not just in moms,” Dr. Patel said. “This is leading to early labor, premature babies, on top of that, now, the babies are in NICU or intensive care, the momma, she can’t even see her baby.”

In August, the CDC officially recommended the vaccine for women who are pregnant after data showed no increased risk of miscarriage. Since then only 33% of pregnant women ages 18 to 49 have been vaccinated against COVID-19, leaving a large percentage unprotected against the virus.

“More than enough evidence to show that moms who have been given those vaccines have less risk of getting infections and two there are more likely to pass the antibodies onto their newborns to protect those newborns if they breastfeed, which is also good for the baby,” Dr. Patel said.

Dr. Patel highly encourages all pregnant women to get their COVID-19 vaccine. He said this will not only help protect themselves but also their babies, from the COVID-19 virus and all of its variants.

Both the Society of High-Risk Medicine and the American College of OBGYN’s have said the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Patel encourages anyone who is hesitating to get the vaccine, especially at the time to get a second or third opinion before it’s too late.

“I say, trust a doctor, you trust already and have a frank conversation and see what their opinion is,” Dr. Patel said.” You trust them with your healthcare as it was for your pregnancy, they aren’t going to do something that is unsafe at this point.”