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England’s chief medical officer has urged women who are or are intending to become pregnant to get their coronavirus vaccination as he set out some “stark facts” showing the majority of expectant mothers in hospital with Covid-19 were unjabbed.
Professor Chris Whitty said it is a “major concern” as he insisted it is “really clear” that the benefits of getting the vaccine “far outweigh the risks in every area”.
He quoted data showing that the vast majority of pregnant women admitted to hospital with coronavirus, and those in intensive care, had not had a vaccine.
He told a Downing Street press conference: “I would just like to give you some fairly stark facts about this because this is a major concern.”
He explained that, based on academic data from February 1 to September 30, some 1,714 pregnant women were admitted to hospital with Covid.
He added: “Of those, 1,681, which is to say 98%, had not been vaccinated.
“And if you go to those who are very severely ill in intensive care, of 235 women admitted to ICU, 232 of them – over 98% – had not been vaccinated.
“These are preventable admissions to ICU and there have been deaths.
Pregnant women can have the #COVID19 vaccination 🤰
If you're pregnant, you'll be offered the jab at the same time as people of the same age or risk group.
— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) May 19, 2021
“All the medical opinion is really clear that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks in every area. This is a universal view among doctors and among the midwife advisory groups and among the scientific advisory groups.
“So can I please encourage all women who are pregnant or wishing to become pregnant to get their vaccination.”
He said they should also get their flu vaccine as that virus is “also very dangerous for women who are pregnant”.
It is the latest in a series of calls for pregnant women to get their jabs, with England’s chief midwife, Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists president Dr Edward Morris and Health Secretary Sajid Javid all having spoken out to encourage this group to take up the vaccine offer.