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Figures showing that around 80,000 pregnant women in England are fully vaccinated against coronavirus have been described as “encouraging”, but those who remain unjabbed have been urged to take up the offer.
Almost all pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid and in intensive care with the virus are unvaccinated, according to statistics given by the country’s chief medical officer.
Professor Chris Whitty repeated his warning about the risks to this group of remaining unjabbed.
Almost all pregnant women admitted to hospital, including ICU, with COVID are unvaccinated. This is a risk to you and your baby. It's safer to be vaccinated.
Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Chief Midwifery Officer Ruth May, Chief Nursing OfficerChris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer https://t.co/IeQiodABzE
— Professor Chris Whitty (@CMO_England) November 18, 2021
He tweeted: “Almost all pregnant women admitted to hospital, including ICU, with COVID are unvaccinated. This is a risk to you and your baby. It’s safer to be vaccinated.”
New data on Thursday from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) showed 84,674 pregnant women in England received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine up to October 31.
Of those, 80,728 have also had a second dose, officials said.
Being immunised against Covid-19 is “one of the most important ways you can protect yourself and your baby”, Professor Lucy Chappell said.
She reassured people that the vaccine is safe and does not affect fertility.
The chief scientific adviser at the Department of Health and honorary consultant obstetrician said: “The journey through pregnancy can be very exciting, but also quite nerve-wracking too, especially during this global pandemic.
“I want to reassure all women – whether they’re thinking about pregnancy, expecting a baby, or have just recently become new mothers – that the Covid-19 vaccine is not only safe, but it’s one of the most important ways you can protect yourself and your baby.
“It also does not affect your fertility, if you’re thinking about getting pregnant in the future.
“The data published today is encouraging but we need even more pregnant women to come forward for their vaccine – I encourage anyone with concerns to speak to their midwife, obstetrician or GP who will be able to provide reassurance.”
Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, consultant epidemiologist at the UKHSA, also described the figures for jab uptake as “encouraging”, and said it is the “best way for women to protect themselves against Covid-19-related complications in pregnancy, which can be serious, especially in the third trimester”.
Dr Amirthalingam said: “If you are pregnant and haven’t yet had your vaccine, I would encourage you to take up the offer and book your appointment.
“GPs, midwives and obstetricians continue to have a vital role in talking to women about the benefits of vaccination in pregnancy and helping to answer any questions they may have.”
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference on Monday, Prof Whitty said he wanted to set out some “fairly stark facts” on the figures.
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.
He 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”.