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Pregnant women strongly encouraged to get the COVID vaccine

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Pregnant woman are being urged to get themselves vaccinated against COVID-19 following the publication of further evidence providing reassurance on the safety of the jab.

The latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows good outcomes for vaccinated women who had their babies up to August this year.

This push to get pregnant women vaccinated also follows an announcement from the UK’s Joint Commission on Immunisation and Vaccination (JCVI) advising that all pregnant women should be offered the booster.

Data shows 98% of pregnant women in hospital with symptomatic COVID-19 are unvaccinated, while no fully vaccinated pregnant women were admitted to intensive care with COVID-19 in England between February and the end of September 2021.

In contrast, evidence continues to show the serious consequences of catching COVID-19 in pregnancy. Pregnant women are more likely to become very unwell if they catch COVID-19, and around one in five women who are hospitalised with the virus need to be delivered pre-term so they can recover, resulting in one in five of their babies needing neo natal care. One in five of the most critically ill coronavirus patients are unvaccinated expectant mothers.

Professor Lucy Chappell, DHSC’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Honorary Consultant Obstetrician, said: ‘This pandemic has created a lot of fear and uncertainty for those who are thinking about pregnancy or expecting a baby, with COVID-19 being very dangerous for pregnant women in particular.

‘It is therefore really important that they get their COVID-19 vaccine - which has now protected hundreds of thousands of pregnant women around the world.

‘The latest data are hugely reassuring and further shows the vaccines continue to be the best way pregnant women can keep themselves and their babies safe from this virus.’

Pregnant women who have passed the three month mark following their second dose are being encouraged to come forward for the booster to provide them and their baby increased protection against the virus.

Lawrie Hooper MHK, Minister for Health and Social Care said: ‘Having the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others this winter season. The new data shows that the COVID vaccine is safe for pregnant women so I encourage those eligible for a booster, those who have delayed having their jab, or been unable to until now, to come forward and take up the offer.’

Pregnant women who have not yet had received a first dose are invited to register online for the vaccine, while those who still need a second dose, or wish to receive a booster should email or call 111. Those eligible for a booster are asked to not use the online booking system.

Anyone who would like more knowledge on the vaccine or has any worries is asked to please contact their GP or midwife who will be able to provide up-to-date information.