Pregnant women who have not yet received their first, second, third or booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine urged to receive their vaccine as soon as possible as government launches new New Years advertising campaign .
The new campaign partners with experts from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) to highlight the serious risks of catching COVID-19 and the benefits that vaccines bring to protect mothers and their babies.
The testimonies of pregnant women who have had the reflex to protect themselves will be broadcast in advertisements on social networks and radio stations across the country from today. [Monday January 10].
The new campaign urges pregnant women to “don’t wait to get vaccinated” and highlights the risks of COVID-19 for mother and baby, and the benefits of vaccination.
The latest data from the British Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows that COVID-19 vaccinations offer strong protection to pregnant women against the virus. It also shows that the vaccines are safe for pregnant women, with similar birth outcomes for those who received the vaccine and those who did not.
Lucy Chappell, DHSC Chief Science Advisor and Honorary Consultant Obstetrician, said:
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most important things a pregnant woman can do this year to protect herself and her baby from this virus as much as possible.
We now have a lot of evidence to show that vaccines are safe and that the risks posed by COVID-19 are much greater.
If you have not received your COVID-19 vaccine, I urge you to speak to your clinician or midwife if you have any questions or concerns, and to reserve your vaccine as soon as you can. “
Data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System shows that 96.3% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with symptoms of COVID-19 between May and October 2021 were not vaccinated, with a third (33%) requiring respiratory assistance . About 1 in 5 women hospitalized with the virus must give birth before term to recover and 1 in 5 babies need care in the neonatal unit.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant women and have no impact on fertility, which has been made extremely clear by the government, its senior clinicians and a series of independent experts from stakeholder groups such as the RCOG, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the British Fertility Society.
As of April 2021, approximately 84,000 pregnant women have received one dose and more than 80,000 have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. In August 2021, only 22% of women who gave birth were vaccinated. Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said:
We welcome this national campaign as an important way to amplify the very clear message to pregnant women that vaccination offers the best protection for them and their babies against COVID-19. We urge all pregnant women to get the vaccine as soon as possible and to get a boost 3 months after the second dose.
We are very concerned that many pregnant women have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 and we hope this campaign will help reassure them that the vaccination is safe and effective. Pregnant women are more likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19 infection, which can lead to an increased risk of preterm birth and stillbirth. “
Gill Walton, CEO and Secretary General of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said:
There is overwhelming evidence that the COVID vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their babies – and it’s the best way to protect them from harm. Unfortunately, there are too many pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID, and 96.3% of them have not been vaccinated.
The consequences of COVID when you are pregnant are clear and potentially devastating, ranging from an increased possibility of preterm labor and intensive care admission to an increased risk of stillbirth.
We know that pregnant women want to do everything to protect their babies, which is why midwives want to reassure them that vaccination is the best thing they can do. “
Dr Jen Jardine, of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who is also seven months pregnant and received her COVID-19 booster injection, said:
As a doctor and a pregnant mother myself, we can now be very confident that COVID-19 vaccinations provide the best possible protection for you and your unborn child against this virus.
I would strongly urge all pregnant women like me, if you have not yet received the vaccine, to speak to your GP or midwife if you still have any questions, then to book today. “
- Latest UKHSA study on vaccines and pregnancy
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- In December, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) said pregnant women of all ages should be considered a clinical risk group in the COVID-19 vaccination program.
- All pregnant women in the UK have been offered the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 booster vaccines are offered to all pregnant women over 18, 3 months after their second dose.
- Pregnant women of any age should be considered a clinical risk group in the COVID-19 vaccination program and to support these pregnant women have been added to priority group 6 for vaccination.