Pregnant women are urged to get a jab as new data shows just one in ten have had one with Covid hospitalisations in unvaccinated mothers-to-be surging
Pregnant women have been urged to get jabbed as new data shows just one in ten have come forward.
Health chiefs said rates of Covid hospitalisations are rising rapidly among unvaccinated mothers-to-be.
New Public Health England data shows that so far 51,724 pregnant women in England have received at least one dose, and 20,648 women have had two.
Around 600,000 women in the UK are pregnant, meaning less than ten per cent have been jabbed.
New Public Health England data shows that so far 51,724 pregnant women in England have received at least one dose, and 20,648 women have had two, around one in ten of all mothers-to-be
Since April, pregnant women have been eligible for the vaccine at the same time as the rest of their age group.
But uptake remains low and health chiefs are concerned about rising admissions for Covid-19 among pregnant women. Some 95 per cent of the pregnant women in hospital with Covid-19 last week were unvaccinated.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: ‘It is brilliant to see so many pregnant women coming forward for their COVID-19 vaccines, ensuring they protect themselves and their baby from this awful virus.
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‘While uncommon, severe illness from COVID-19 is more likely in later pregnancy and infection increases the risk of a premature birth. The COVID-19 vaccines are one of the best defences against infection, preventing at least 11.7 million infections in England alone.’
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said: ‘It is encouraging that thousands of pregnant women have received a COVID-19 vaccine - we strongly urge anyone who has not yet taken up the offer to get both doses as soon as possible and for pregnant women to come forward for their second dose eight weeks after their first dose.’
Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: ‘We are encouraged to see more than 50,000 pregnant women in England have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
'We recommend vaccination in pregnancy as it’s the most effective way of protecting women and their babies from severe illness and premature birth.
‘We are concerned that increasing rates of COVID-19 infection will adversely impact pregnant women.
'Of the pregnant women in hospital with COVID-19 last week, 95 per cent were unvaccinated. We hope this reassuring data will help those undecided consider taking up the offer of a vaccine.’
Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: ‘It’s really encouraging that so many pregnant women have already come forward to the vaccine - particularly bearing in mind this figure doesn’t include the pregnant health and care workers or those who are clinically extremely vulnerable who would have received at least their first vaccine before 16 April. We’re all very aware of just how widely the virus is still circulating.
‘That’s why it’s so important for pregnant women to take up the vaccine. We are seeing increasing numbers of pregnant women being admitted to hospital with serious illness, almost all of whom are unvaccinated.
'Pregnant women are at greater risk of serious illness if they get COVID, and those with severe COVID are twice as likely to experience a stillbirth and three times as likely to have a preterm baby. Getting the vaccine is the best way to keep you and your baby safe.
‘So often, we mark out pregnancy landmarks in weeks, what size the baby is at 12 weeks or 22. Now we have a new landmark - eight weeks between the first jab and the second.
'If you have any concerns or any questions, speak to your midwife who will help you make the right decision for you and your baby.’
Severe illness due to Covid-19 is uncommon in pregnant women, but is more likely in later pregnancy.
Pregnant women who do get symptomatic COVID-19 infection are 2 to 3 times more likely to give birth to their baby prematurely.
Women in the UK are advised to get the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines because these vaccines have been given to over 130,000 pregnant women in the US and the data have not raised any safety concerns.