Ask Why 429 Moms Died in 2021
The brilliant investigative journalist Mary Beth Pfeiffer found a 300% increase in maternal deaths during Delta. We published an Op-Ed in Trial Site News exploring the causes. VAED is real.
But in releasing its 2021 maternal mortality report—seventeen months after the fact—the U.S. Centers for Disease Control left out crucial context. It made no mention of the role of Covid-19, even in the pandemic’s worst year and even as data was readily available.
We analyzed that data, assisted by a programmer and an actuary, and found a disturbing trend. Of the 1,205 mothers who died in or within forty-two days of pregnancy in 2021, 429 had Covid-19 on the death certificate as either the primary or a contributing cause—a 321 percent increase in Covid pregnancy deaths from the first wave in 2020. By comparison, total Covid deaths in the United States rose a relatively modest 20 percent—one-fifteen as much as in pregnant women.
Such a huge disparity suggests that Covid, which typically claims the elderly and medically compromised, did not solely drive these pregnancy deaths. Rather, the campaign to vaccinate pregnant women in the heat of the second Covid wave may have combined to make infections worse in the vaccinated. The phenomenon, often minimized as “breakthrough infection,” is called vaccine-associated enhanced disease or VAED and has been documented in measles, respiratory syncytial virus, and dengue fever.
The 429 women who died from pregnancy-related Covid in 2021 are a tiny fraction of those who birthed 3.6 million babies in 2021. But their role in the nation’s 40 percent increase in maternal deaths deserves official scrutiny. When we looked at deaths of women for whom Covid was the prime killer—the underlying cause—we found an increase of 2,000 percent, from 16 mothers who died in 2020 to 335 in 2021.
Since the rollout of Covid vaccines in late 2020, a concerted effort has been made to minimize vaccine failures of efficacy and safety while overstating vaccine success. We contend that this awful chapter in Covid history, when more than 400 families lost wives and mothers, is instructive. It may also offer insight into vaccine-driven sickness and death in the general population that has been studiously ignored.
“All cases of vaccine failure should be investigated for VAED,” said a 2021 article in the journal Vaccine on Covid-19 vaccines.
Clearly, that is not happening.
Pregnant Women Excluded
In the spring and summer of 2021, pregnant women were repeatedly urged to protect themselves and their babies by taking Covid vaccinations, with website and social media depictions of smiling mothers holding their blossoming bellies. CDC did this knowing that supporting data was spare.
“Pregnant women were excluded from COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials and thus data to date on safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy is limited,” a CDC proposal to monitor safety reads from June 2021. There is “an urgent need for outcome data following [emphasis added] use of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant populations.”
Although the vaccines were still under “emergency use authorization,” which is well short of formal approval, the CDC on April 23, 2021, first encouraged and on August 11, 2021, urged Covid vaccination before, during, and after pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists got on board on July 30, 2021.
For the first time in history women were exhorted—some were mandated by employers—to take a novel, minimally tested, injected pharmaceutical even in the sacrosanct first trimester of fetal development. Yet the CDC endorsements referred to research only in third-trimester vaccination. This includes a study of 827 pregnancies that found normal rates of miscarriage but inexplicably included 700 women who were vaccinated after 20 weeks, when fetal losses are not characterized as miscarriages.
Lacking robust safety data, the CDC was acting on published reports of serious illness and deaths of pregnant women from Covid, which some studies found was higher and others equal or lower. But while the vaccination campaign was supposed to lead to fewer deaths, more women died than in pre-vaccination 2020 and at rates higher than the general population, our study found.
‘Enhanced’ Disease Dismissed
By August 7, 2021, 48 percent of pregnant women had been inoculated, including 22 percent during pregnancy. Half of the 2021 Covid-in-pregnancy deaths in our data occurred in August and September, coinciding both with advisories to vaccinate and the Delta wave—perfect conditions for enhanced disease. Blaming Delta for the maternal deaths is an incomplete explanation. The Delta wave was indisputably difficult among other groups; Covid deaths of 18- to 49-year-olds, for example, rose 147 percent from 2020 to 2021, we found. But the government chose to vaccinate our way out of Covid. Successive waves suggest that approach—applied even to people with infection-induced natural immunity—failed.
In the first ninety days of the rollout, Pfizer researchers recorded 2,585 cases of vaccinees whose “serious adverse event” was actually Covid-19 itself, the DailyClout reported. Of those cases, 136 people died (and 2,110 had “unknown” outcomes), the Pfizer documents show.
“These cases are very suggestive of VAEDS,” three physicians who analyzed Pfizer reports for DailyClout told us in an emailed statement. Yet Pfizer claimed that none of the cases, including in seventy-five vaccinees with “severe” disease, “could be definitively considered” as vaccine influenced. The physicians, Joseph Gehrett, Barbara Gehrett, and Chris Flowers, called VAEDS “an unattainable diagnosis…almost impossible” to meet under the current definition applied to Covid.
Asked about our findings, the physicians commented, “If a large proportion of the 2021 maternal deaths from COVID-19 occurred in vaccinated women, it would be highly suspicious for probable or possible VAED and should be aggressively investigated.”
Testament to the issue’s lack of urgency, a CDC study of what it called vaccine-mediated enhanced disease in Covid, launched in June 2021, has not reported results more than thirty months later. An agency spokesman said research concluded six weeks ago and is undergoing peer review.
In 2022, after the Omicron variant took over and vaccinations slowed, eighty-eight women died from Covid in or within forty-two days of pregnancy, about one-fourth the number of 2021. Erased was the 40 percent increase in maternal mortality of a year earlier.
Pandemic’s Darkest Time
Clearly, the pandemic was a turning point in the use of new pharmaceuticals in pregnancy. Barriers fell, and so did caution. The new drug remdesivir, sold as Veklury, was given to hospitalized pregnant women with Covid, first under emergency use authorization in 2020. Yet the package insert—similar to those for mRNA vaccines—still stipulates, “There are insufficient human data on the use of Veklury during pregnancy.”
Dr. Peter A. McCullough, a published cardiologist who first warned of post-vaccine myocarditis, told us, “I am very concerned that antecedent or gestational administration of COVID-19 vaccines is associated with maternal death.” The virus and vaccine together, as he put it, can “super-load” the body with dangerous spike proteins from each. CDC should focus on these pregnancy outcomes, he proposes, by merging vaccine and mortality data, which is often out of researchers’ reach.
The third quarter of 2021, when maternal deaths peaked, is infamous for the start of another worrisome trend, first reported by OneAmerica insurance company, of a 40 percent increase in deaths among 18- to 64-year-olds. “We are seeing, right now, the highest death rates we have seen in the history of this business—not just at OneAmerica,” CEO Scott Davison said then.
Similarly, actuarial data shows excess deaths soared then among insured working-age adults—with double the mortality, for example, in 35- to 44-year-olds from the pre-pandemic norm. This trend continues even now and cannot be fully explained by Covid. Nor can a 33 percent rise since 2020 in the number of disabled Americans. Yet the government has shown little inclination to study this catastrophic toll of early death and infirmity.
Excess deaths, disability rolls, and maternal mortality numbers are trying to tell us something. They should be heeded.
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