The Government is warning that almost all pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid symptoms were unvaccinated in one analysis over several months last year, as it kicks off an advertising campaign encouraging expectant mothers to get boosted.
The campaign is calling on pregnant women not to wait to get either their first, second or booster jab, and it will highlight the risks of Covid-19 to mothers and babies, with testimonies of pregnant women who have had the vaccine to be broadcast on radio and social media.
The Government says that it has been clear, along with medical experts and institutions, that Covid-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant women and have no impact on fertility.
Watch: Unvaccinated pregnant women warned of Covid danger
The Department of Health and Social Care cited statistics from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System which it said showed 96.3% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 symptoms between May and October were unvaccinated, a third of whom required respiratory support.
We have extensive evidence now to show that the vaccines are safe and that the risks posed by Covid-19 are far greater
Prof Lucy Campbell
Around one in five women admitted to hospital with the virus need to be delivered pre-term to help them recover, and one in five of their babies need care in the neonatal unit, the Department of Health and Social Care said.
Since April 2021, around 84,000 pregnant women have received one dose and over 80,000 have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, the department said.
Dr Jen Jardine, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, who is seven months pregnant and has had her Covid-19 booster jab, said: “Both as a doctor and pregnant mother myself, we can now be very confident that the Covid-19 vaccinations provide the best possible protection for you and your unborn child against this virus.
“I would strongly call on all pregnant women like me, if you haven’t had the vaccine yet, to either speak to your GP or midwife if you still have questions and then book right away today.”
Professor Lucy Chappell, chief scientific adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care, said: “Getting a Covid-19 vaccine is one of the most important things a pregnant woman can do this year to keep herself and her baby as safe from this virus as possible.
“We have extensive evidence now to show that the vaccines are safe and that the risks posed by Covid-19 are far greater.
“If you haven’t had your Covid-19 vaccine, I would urge you to speak to your clinician or midwife if you have any questions or concerns,â¯and book in your vaccine as soon as you can.”
Watch: NHS plead with pregnant women to get jab after low uptake