Experts push COVID vaccines at college and for expecting mothers

Vaccines were distributed Tuesday at Florida International University while medical leaders in Broward and Miami-Dade separately urged expecting mothers to get the shots.

MIAMI – Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava visited Florida International University’s main campus Tuesday as the county’s vaccine rollout continues with a mobile site there.

It comes as healthcare workers on the frontlines say the surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations isn’t letting up.

“From what we are seeing in our projections, probably this is still going to escalate through the next week or so,” said Dr. Michael J. Paidas, chief of service for obstetrics and gynecology at both the University of Miami Health System and Jackson Health System.

On Paidas’ radar is the upcoming Labor Day holiday.

“I am concerned about super spreader events,” he said.

FIU’s own infectious disease expert Dr. Aileen Marty has consistently recommended the use of masks indoors, even now for fully vaccinated people as delta variant cases surge. But a spokesperson for the school said that masks are not required in FIU classrooms.

Vaccines are also recommended but not required at FIU.

Push to vaccinate pregnant women

Also Tuesday, hospital leaders from Broward Health to Jackson underlined a mounting concern about the rising number of unvaccinated pregnant women in COVID-19 intensive-care units — needing oxygen to help keep them and their babies alive.

“All pregnant women should get vaccinated because we don’t want women to die,” said Dr. Adolfo Gonzalez-Garcia, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Broward Health. “We recently had a maternal death. This baby will never know his mother, and this woman never saw her child. And that is so, so sad and that should never happen.”

Paidas said Jackson also had a maternal death connected to COVID-19.

“These vaccines, they are not changing your genetic makeup or anything. They are just very elegantly being able to allow your body be able to produce the antibodies that are going to protect you and save you from dying or getting extremely sick with COVID,” Paidas said. “And also for your baby, because these antibodies are going to cross the placenta and they are going to provide some protection for the newborn as well.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is as a safety measure to get this vaccine.”

Dr. Joshua Lenchus, the interim chief medical officer at Broward Health said that “only about one in four pregnant women have been vaccinated for COVID-19.”

[READ MORE: COVID-19 Vaccination Considerations for Obstetric–Gynecologic Care | Maternal COVID-19 guidelines]

About the Author:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."