A new study pointing to significantly higher COVID-19 infection rates among pregnant women has doctors pushing for them to be moved up in the vaccination schedule.

The University of Washington study found that women of the very same age group that were not pregnant had significantly lower infection rates.

Medical experts have known for some time now that pregnant women who contract the virus are at increased risk for serious illness.

But a new study conducted by the university’s School of Medicine found that the infection rate among pregnant women was 70 percent higher than adults of similar age. The rate was even higher for pregnant women of color.

The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, suggests the over-representation of women in front-line essential professions could be a contributing factor.

A doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital said pregnant women who are infected but are asymptomatic are easier to identify because they automatically get tested when they are admitted to the hospital.

“If you’re a 38-year-old woman going around in the community who might be working from home, you may certainly have gotten COVID but you might never know because you wouldn’t have a reason to get an asymptomatic nasal swab,” Dr. Andrea Edlow said.

The study suggests pregnant women should be prioritized for the vaccine, as they are in Alaska, New Mexico, Texas, and New Hampshire.

Massachusetts has pregnant women in Phase 2 group three in its vaccination schedule.

Edlow said pregnant women deserve high priority but couldn’t if they should be moved up in the vaccination schedule.

“We do know that pregnant women tend to get sicker than non-pregnant women of the same age when they do have SARS-COV-2 infection; they’re more likely to be admitted to the ICU, to need a ventilator, and more likely to die,” she said.

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