UMass Chan School of Medicine in Worcester is developing a digital presentation to help Massachusetts doctors better explain the COVID vaccine to pregnant patients

UMass Chan Medical School has developed a digital presentation aimed at helping doctors talk to pregnant patients who are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

With funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UMass Chan has developed a 90-minute “empathetic and non-judgmental” webinar to provide facts about the COVID vaccine, especially for pregnant women.

“We focus on motivational interviewing, which is a style of collaborative counseling conversation that’s been proven to build a person’s motivation and commitment to change,” said director of the UMass Chan Center for Change. integrated primary care, Daniel Mullin, in a press release. “We find that these kinds of conversations tend to help people make healthier choices than other ways of talking to them. When we focus on listening to the individual and discovering their own reasons for accepting the vaccine, the likelihood that they will choose the vaccine increases.

The webinar is offered free of charge to physicians, nurses, and counselors in Massachusetts by the Center for Integrated Primary Care in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Registration is open for the online webinars taking place on January 14, January 21 and February 11.

Mullin is a clinical psychologist who often counsels pregnant women with depression and anxiety in Barre Family Health Center’s fully integrated primary care practice. He developed the “Communication Skills Training for Clinicians Discussing COVID-19 Vaccination” webinar because pregnant women face heightened risks of COVID that extend to the unborn child.

A University of California study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that pregnant women are 15 times more likely to die from COVID, 14 times more likely to be intubated, and 22 times more likely to have premature birth than vaccinated people.

Normally, a full-term pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. Data from the University of California shows that a premature birth, between 32 and 36 weeks, was 22 times more likely. A very preterm birth, between 28 and 31 weeks, is 12 times more likely and an extremely preterm birth, one occurring before 28 weeks, is nine times more likely.

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 million children die each year worldwide due to complications from premature birth. In the United States, the CDC said that about 17% of deaths of children under 12 months old were caused by complications from premature birth.

The CDC found that the risk increased further for some pregnant people.

The risks increase for pregnant women who have underlying medical conditions and are over the age of 25. People who live in areas with high numbers of COVID cases are also at higher risk. The entire state is now experiencing extremely high levels of new cases.

The CDC also said pregnant women from racial and ethnic minority groups, who are already at increased risk of getting sick from COVID because of the health inequities they face, also face increased risks. .

The associated risks have led the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the professional society that guides all OB-GYNs, to strongly recommend that women who are pregnant or who plan to become pregnant receive the vaccine.

“We offer vaccination because the science supports it and our professional societies recommend it. However, we offer it and even apparently press it more because we see pregnant women in distress and admitted to our maternity ward, some in intensive care and others intubated,” president and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Dr. Tiffany Moore Simas. noted. “It is heartbreaking to deliver pregnant women who are incredibly sick and often premature, sedated requiring intensive care, and not realizing that they have just become mothers. It is more heartbreaking to know that it was potentially preventable with vaccination.

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