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28th Nov, 2021

Get your Covid jab, pregnant women urged

Rob George 21st Oct, 2021 Updated: 21st Oct, 2021

PREGNANT women in Worcestershire are being urged to get the COVID-19 vaccine as new data shows nearly 20 per cent of the most critically ill patients are pregnant women who have not been vaccinated.

Latest statistics show more than 1,000 pregnant women in the Midlands have received the first dose of the jab and around 18,000 have received their second dose.

Since July, one in five COVID patients receiving treatment through a special lung-bypass machine were expectant mums who have not had their first jab.

Pregnant women have been treated with a therapy, called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), used only when a patient’s lungs are so damaged by COVID that a ventilator cannot maintain oxygen levels.

Out of all women between the ages of 16 and 49 on ECMO in intensive care, pregnant women make up almost a third – up from just six per cent at the start of the pandemic.

Since vaccinations began in December 2020, almost every person who has received ECMO for COVID in the UK has been unvaccinated, NHS data shows.

Janet Driver, Regional Chief Midwife at NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands, said: “We do understand women’s concerns about having the vaccine in pregnancy, and we want to reassure women there is no link between having the vaccine and an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, or stillbirth.

“Pregnant women should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their GP, obstetrician or midwife, or a healthcare professional in a vaccination centre.

“Women who are planning pregnancy, or have immediately given birth to their baby, or are breastfeeding can be vaccinated with any vaccine, depending on their age and clinical risk group.”

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists 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 independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) confirms the jab has been shown to be effective and safe for women carrying a baby.

Since April 2021, pregnant women have been offered the vaccine as part of the standard age based rollout of the vaccination programme.

The NHS has arranged for the vaccine to be expectant mums at a number of convenient local locations, including at some antenatal clinics, and pregnant women are encouraged to speak to their GP or midwife if they have questions about getting the jab.

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