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Pregnant women ‘should be regarded as risk group and be given vaccines quickly’

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Published on 17/12/2021

Pregnant women should be regarded as a clinical risk group for Covid-19 and be given vaccines quickly, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said.

The expert team advising the Government said there was “growing evidence showing that women who are pregnant are at increased risk of serious consequences from Covid-19”.

New data has been published showing that 34 women have died in the UK after acquiring Covid while pregnant.

Four newborn babies have also died where medics said the reason was Covid-19.Women are around 50% more likely to die with coronavirus than those who are pregnant and do not catch the virus, and most deaths have occurred in the unvaccinated.

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In a snapshot of cases, 1,436 pregnant women were admitted to hospital between May 16 and the end of October this year with symptoms of Covid-19, of which 230 ended up in intensive care.

More than 96% of these women were unvaccinated.

Just 16 women in hospital had had two vaccine doses, showing the powerful effect of vaccines.

The figures relate to before the Omicron variant of coronavirus took hold.

The JCVI urged all those who are unvaccinated to book their vaccines now, while women who have had two doses can get their booster if they had their second vaccine dose at least three months earlier.

Data from UKOSS and MBRRACE-UK suggests that clinical outcomes following Covid-19 in pregnant women have worsened over the course of the pandemic.

It found that more pregnant women with Covid-19 are experiencing more severe disease as the pandemic progresses, with more of those going to hospital being admitted to intensive care (7.9% in the first wave compared with 16% in the third wave).

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of the JCVI, said: “There is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines used in pregnancy increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirths, congenital abnormalities or birth complications.

“Having a UK-approved Covid-19 vaccine is safer than having Covid-19 itself.

“Women who are pregnant are strongly encouraged to have a first, second or booster vaccine dose as appropriate in order to better protect yourself and your baby from any serious consequences from Covid-19.”

Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, from the UK Health Security Agency, said: “The serious risks posed to women who become infected with Covid-19 during pregnancy have become increasingly clear.

“We know that the vaccines used in the UK Covid-19 vaccination programme have been highly effective in preventing serious complications and those recommended for pregnant women have a good safety record.

“I would urge all pregnant women to come forward and get their vaccine without delay. This is the best way to protect you and your baby.”

 

What do you think about pregnant women having the vaccine?  Let us know your thoughts!

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