England’s top midwife has urged expectant mothers to get the Covid-19 vaccine after new data shows the overwhelming majority of pregnant women hospitalised with the virus have not had a jab.
Latest official figures in England also reveal that no pregnant women with both doses of the vaccine had been admitted to hospital. Since May, just three women had been admitted after having their first vaccine. In contrast, almost all (98 per cent) pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 had not been jabbed.
“Vaccines save lives, and this is another stark reminder that the can keep you, your baby and your loved ones, safe and out of hospital,” said Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Chief Midwifery Officer for England.
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“Thanks to the planning, skill and dedication of hard-working staff the NHS Covid vaccination programme is the biggest in health service history and the most precise in Europe. But we need everyone to come forward and take up the evergreen offer of a jab which is why I am calling on pregnant women to take action to protect themselves and their babies and on my fellow midwives to ensure they have the information they need to do so,” she said.
She has now written to fellow midwives and GP practices across the stressing the need to encourage pregnant women to get the jab to protect them and their baby.
Since April, pregnant women have been offered the vaccine in line with their age cohort, and health leaders in the UK are now calling on more younger adults to come forward and close the uptake gap.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives have both recommended vaccination as one of the best defences for pregnant women against severe Covid-19 infection, while the UK’s independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) confirms the jab has been shown to be effective and safe for women carrying a baby.
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“Every day our members are seeing very sick pregnant women with Covid-19 in hospital and the majority are unvaccinated. We want to reassure pregnant women that are the safest and best way to protect you and your baby from severe illness and premature birth,” said RCOG President Dr Edward Morris.
“It’s so important for pregnant women to get their jab, particularly with the virus being so prevalent and the Delta variant proving itself to be so much more transmissible,” added Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives.
The JCVI has advised that pregnant women should be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.