More pregnant women encouraged to get their vaccine

Health chiefs are encouraging more pregnant women to get their coronavirus vaccine, as new data shows that 51,724 pregnant women in England have received at least one dose.

On 16 April 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advised that pregnant women should be offered the coronavirus vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.

It is preferable for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available, as there is more safety data available on these vaccines in pregnancy. Women who are planning pregnancy, who are in the immediate postpartum period, or who are breastfeeding can be vaccinated with any vaccine, depending on their age and clinical risk group.

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. 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.”

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-19, and those with severe Covid-19 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.”

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