The NHS is encouraging pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine as new data shows that nearly 20% of the most critically ill COVID patients are pregnant women who have not been vaccinated.
Since July, one in five COVID patients receiving treatment through a special lung-bypass machine were expectant mums who have not had their first jab. Pregnant women have been treated with a therapy, called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), used only when a patient’s lungs are so damaged by COVID that a ventilator cannot maintain oxygen levels.
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‘This is another stark reminder that the COVID-19 jab can keep you, your baby and your loved ones, safe and out of hospital. You can receive vaccination at any time in pregnancy, but the risks that unvaccinated pregnant women face of becoming severely unwell if they catch COVID-19 show exactly why we advise you to do so as soon as possible,’ said Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Chief Midwifery Officer for England.
Data from Public Health England showed that over 81,000 pregnant women have received the first dose of the life-saving COVID jab, and around 65,000 have received their second dose. Out of all women between the ages of 16 and 49 on ECMO in intensive care, pregnant women make up almost a third (32%) – up from just 6% at the start of the pandemic, March 2020.
‘We are urgently calling for all pregnant women to come forward for their vaccinations. There is robust evidence showing that the vaccine is the most effective way to protect both mother and baby against the possibility of severe illness from COVID-19. The disproportionate number of unvaccinated pregnant women in intensive care demonstrates that there is a significant risk of severe illness from COVID-19 in pregnancy,’ said Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
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‘We do understand women’s concerns about having the vaccine in pregnancy, and we want to reassure women that there is no link between having the vaccine and an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, or stillbirth.’