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Pregnant women urged to have COVID jab

Medical experts are urging pregnant women to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, as new data published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) provides further evidence that the vaccines are safe for this group.

The data shows the vaccines have good birth outcomes in vaccinated women who had their babies up to August this year – with no consistent differences between vaccinated women and all women in the figures for stillbirths, low baby birthweights and premature births.

This is in contrast to those who catch the virus, with unvaccinated women at far higher risk of contracting COVID-19. In August 2021, only 22% of women who gave birth were vaccinated.

Of those pregnant women in hospital with symptomatic COVID-19, 98% are unvaccinated, and no fully vaccinated pregnant women were admitted to intensive care with COVID-19 in England between February and the end of September 2021. Around one in 5 women who are hospitalised with the virus need to be delivered preterm to help them recover and one in 5 of their babies need care in the neonatal unit.

Around 84,000 pregnant women have had the jab in the UK and senior clinicians across the health system are therefore encouraging women to get the jab urgently to protect themselves and their babies from the virus.

Pregnant women aged 40 and over who are health or social care workers, or are in an at-risk group, are now also eligible for booster vaccines 6 months after their second dose.

Professor Lucy Chappell, DHSC’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Honorary Consultant Obstetrician, said: "This pandemic has created a lot of fear and uncertainty for those who are thinking about pregnancy or expecting a baby, with COVID-19 being very dangerous for pregnant women in particular. It is therefore really important that they get their COVID-19 vaccine – which has now protected hundreds of thousands of pregnant women around the world.

The data is hugely reassuring and further shows the vaccines continue to be the best way pregnant women can keep themselves and their babies safe from this virus.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at UKHSA, said: "We already know that getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from serious illness. If you haven’t already been vaccinated, this new information should add to the reassuring safety data. Every pregnant woman who has not yet been vaccinated should feel confident to go and get the jab, and that this will help to prevent the serious consequences of catching COVID-19 in pregnancy.

"This accumulating evidence will also allow midwives and other health professionals to provide better information to pregnant women and help to drive uptake higher. Our figures also highlight stark inequalities in uptake with many of the most vulnerable women in our society going unvaccinated. It is vital that women of all backgrounds accept their offer of the vaccine in order to protect themselves."

The Government is working closely with RCOG, RCM and other key stakeholders on engaging with women who are either pregnant or thinking about pregnancy and providing them with the latest advice and information at every possible opportunity. It’s also working with faith and community leaders to increase vaccine uptake, holding regular meetings to discuss the best ways to provide information to their communities.

The Chief Midwifery Officer for England, Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, has also written to fellow midwives and GP practices across the country stressing the need to encourage pregnant women to get the jab.

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Upcoming Events

AfPP Annual Conference 2022

University of York
8-11 September 2022

Infection 360: What's trending in infection prevention & control

Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham
27-28 September 2022

IP2022 IS COMING TO BOURNEMOUTH IN OCTOBER 2022

Bournemouth
17-19 October 2022

UKHCA Conference: Listen Up

Pendulum Hotel and Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester
3rd November 2022

MEDICA 2022

Dusseldorf Germany
14th November - 17th November

Future Surgery 2022

ExCel, London
15th - 16th November 2022

Access the latest issue of Clinical Services Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Clinical Services Journal app from your device's App store

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