Kline’s media campaign for vaccinating pregnant women

Many of our faculty and staff in the department and at University of Iowa Health Care have been quick to add another role, public advocate, to their educator-researcher-clinician roles over the course of the pandemic. We have always responded to requests for interviews, serving as experts on everything from updated colonoscopy screening guidelines to the importance of bicycle safety. But now, as the pandemic is producing another surge in cases, our faculty are working with UI Health Care Marketing and Communication representatives to get the word out.

The focus of one such public awareness campaign revolved around the COVID-19 vaccines and pregnant women. Many pregnant women skipped getting the vaccine over side effect concerns but safety data show that the vaccine poses no additional risks to them than to anyone else; in addition, studies have not shown any increased risk to their developing babies. The public relations team reached out to Joel Kline, MD, professor in Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Occupational Medicine to give voice to the urgency that pregnant women choose vaccination. Kline armed himself with the latest data as well as his own recent experiences in the Medical ICU, which had just seen six pregnant women placed on ventilators or on extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a form of advanced life support in recent weeks.

In the end, four different local media outlets responded to the media pitch–Iowa Public Radio and TV news channels KCRG, KWWL, and KGAN. Over the course of a couple days, Kline sat down with reporters from each of these stations to talk about the increased risk to pregnant women and their babies that COVID-19 poses as well the safety of the vaccine for them. Below are links to the resulting stories.

UIHC Advises Pregnant Women To Get The COVID-19 Vaccine

OBGYN who tested positive for COVID-19 while pregnant warns of risks

Research show pregnancies are more at risk from COVID-19 than the COVID-19 vaccine
– CBS2

Area doctors plead for pregnant women to get vaccinated

Not everything Kline had to say could make it into all the pieces. For example in the below video he breaks down the data of just how few adverse outcomes occurred for pregnant mothers during the vaccine trials, compared to what was an expected minimum.

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