Unvaccinated 21-year-old Woman Has Emergency C-section After Catching COVID

A 21-year-old woman who wasn't vaccinated against COVID had to have an emergency C-section after she developed complications from the disease.

Grayson Bakes' story comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) urged pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID, as the vaccination rate among that group stood at about 23 percent.

Jamie Bakes, Grayson Bakes' mother, told ABC4 her daughter tested positive for COVID late last month after an infected person at her work didn't wear a mask.

"The breathing started getting worse, it just got harder to breathe and then she just couldn't eat, there was nothing she could do to get comfortable. Sitting up...laying down...it was just awful," she said.

Her aunt, Jenny Bakes, told ABC4 the closest hospital with an available ICU and NICU bed was in Orem, 100 miles away from where Grayson Bakes lives in Brigham City.

Grayson Bakes was in her third trimester when she fell ill, and doctors performed an emergency C-section as she became weaker.

Her mother told ABC4: "I'm hoping she gets to meet her baby and he gets to meet her, and they get to have cuddles because they both deserve that."

In a Facebook post, she wrote that her grandson: "Is just as strong as his mommy and defying all expectations. He is eating well and just being as cute as can be from what I can see in videos and pictures."

The new mother's prospects are still unclear, according to her family. Jenny Bakes said: "It's devastating to think in terms of 'is she going to survive?' as opposed to 'OK, it's going to take her this long to get well' because we're not there yet."

People Urged to Get Vaccinated

On Facebook, Jamie Brakes said she was hesitant to share her daughter's story because she is a private person, but hoped it would encourage even one person to "protect themselves, their loved ones and their community."

She said "it made my mommy heart so happy" that a stranger posted they had signed their children up for COVID vaccines after seeing her daughter's story.

"So I will continue to spread our message here....please get vaccinated if you are able and wear a mask! You could literally save a life!" she said.

Jenny Bakes told ABC4: "We would do anything to not be in this situation right now."

On August 11, the CDC updated its guidance on pregnant women and the COVID vaccine, stating that the shot is recommended for all people aged 12 years and over, including those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant or who may become pregnant in the future.

Evidence suggests the benefits of receiving a COVID vaccine outweigh the known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy, and there is no evidence that any vaccines affect fertility in women or men, the CDC said.

Dr. Sean Esplin, senior medical director of women's health at Intermountain Healthcare, told KSL: "This is a population of people, pregnant women, where it's understandable that people might be slow to adopt it, but there is enough information now that we really should be making that move, and really pushing to get people vaccinated."

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A file photo of a pregnant woman in hospital. Grayson Bakes had an emergency C-section after she caught COVID. Getty Images