England’s top midwife is urging those who are pregnant to get the COVID-19 vaccine:
“Vaccines save lives, and this is another stark reminder that the Covid-19 jab can keep you, your baby and your loved ones, safe and out of hospital.”
- The overwhelming majority of pregnant women hospitalised with the virus have not had a jab (98%).
- No pregnant women with both doses of the vaccine had been admitted to hospital.
- Just three women were admitted who had had one dose of the vaccine.
Potential Risks of COVID-19 in Pregnancy
In the last three months alone, 1 in 3 pregnant women in hospital with COVID-19 in England required additional respiratory support (33%), with more than a third developing pneumonia (37%), and around 1 in 7 needing intensive care (15%).
Whilst broadly in line with the current rise in hospital admissions due to coronavirus, the new data, collated by the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS), shows the number of pregnant women being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 is increasing and many needing care are experiencing acute symptoms.
The data also shows that 1 in 5 women admitted to hospital with serious COVID symptoms went on to give birth prematurely, and the likelihood of delivery by caesarean section doubled. 1 in 5 babies born to mothers with COVID symptoms were also admitted to neonatal units.
The Vaccine in Pregnancy
Nearly 200,000 pregnant women in the UK and US have received a COVID-19 vaccine with no safety concerns raised:
- 130,000 pregnant women have received a COVID-19 vaccine it the US
- 51,000 pregnant women have received a COVID-19 vaccine in England
- 4,000 pregnant women have received a COVID-19 vaccine in Scotland
Real-world data from the United States shows that more than 130,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated without any safety concerns being raised and more than 55,000 pregnant women in the UK have also received at least one dose of the vaccine. Based on this data, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised earlier this year that pregnant women should be offered the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
Booking or asking about the vaccine
If you are pregnant and have any questions or concerns about the vaccine you can speak to your GP, midwife or obstetrician to get more information and advice. Even if you have previously declined the vaccine, you can book an appointment to get your jab on the NHS National Booking Service website or call 119 between 7am and 11pm.
Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “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 COVID-19 vaccines are the safest and best way to protect you and your baby from severe illness and premature birth. One dose of COVID-19 vaccination gives good protection against infection, so the sooner you can book your first appointment the better. You can have your second dose eight weeks after your first, which will provide a good level of immunity against the Delta variant. We thank the Chief Midwife for her efforts to encourage pregnant women to get the jab.”
Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect you and your baby against COVID-19. It really is that simple. Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women worldwide have been vaccinated, safely and effectively protecting themselves against COVID and dramatically reducing their risk of serious illness or harm to their baby.
“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. If you have questions, talk to your midwife, talk to your obstetrician, talk to your GP. Get the answers you need and get the jab.”