MUMS-TO-BE in Worcester are being encouraged to take up the offer of a life-saving COVID-19 vaccine when it is their turn.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.
Vaccination offers pregnant women the best protection from COVID-19, which can be serious in some women. Though uncommon, severe illness due to COVID-19 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.
All vaccines being used in the UK have undergone robust clinical trials and have met the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)’s strict standards of safety, effectiveness and quality. Evidence on COVID-19 vaccines has also been reviewed by the World Health Organisation and the regulatory bodies in the US, Canada and Europe and has raised no concerns about safety in pregnancy.
Janet Driver, Regional Chief Midwife at NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands, said: “The COVID-19 vaccines continue to save thousands of lives and I would encourage pregnant women, especially those who are at increased risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19, to promptly take up the offer of a vaccination when offered.
“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 COVID-19 vaccines available in the UK have been shown to be effective and to have a good safety profile. The early COVID-19 vaccines do not contain organisms that can multiply in the body, so they cannot infect an unborn baby in the womb.”
Ashleigh Dudley, 27, is a pregnant hospital midwife and as a health worker has had her first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It’s just not worth any risk of getting COVID-19 at any point in your pregnancy at all,” said Ashleigh. “I would definitely urge pregnant women to get the vaccine when it is offered to them. During the last lockdown we definitely saw a lot of women with coronavirus in pregnancy and they were a lot more ill than previously. They were in hospital for days not having any visitors, so it is not a nice situation to be in when you are pregnant when you should be excited about the next chapter in your life. As restrictions are now beginning to ease, the last thing you would want is to get coronavirus and still have to be isolated from your family at such an important time.”
Pregnant women who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination can book their appointment using the NHS national booking service online at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination