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New data highlights vaccine safety for pregnant women

Friday November 26th 2021

COVID vaccination of pregnant women has barely changed the rate of birth complications, according to data released yesterday.

The UK Health Security Agency said its starkest data showed low rates of vaccination among pregnant women in the most deprived areas of England.

Recent reports have suggested that unvaccinated women have formed a high proportion of those needing hospital care for the virus in recent months.

The UKHSA said no vaccinated pregnant women needed intensive care treatment for the viral infection between February and September. The vaccination rate of pregnant women from the poorest neighbourhoods has been 7.8% compared with 26.5% amongst other pregnant women.

The data shows 0.335% of stillbirths among vaccinated women compared with 0.36% amongst the unvaccinated. Rates for low birthweight were also near identical - although 6.51% of vaccinated women had premature births compared with 5.99% of vaccinated women.

The agency said there was likely to be a high rate of older women and those with underlying medical complications amongst vaccinated women.

Agency head of immunisation Dr Mary Ramsay said: "Every pregnant woman who has not yet been vaccinated should feel confident to go and get the jab, and that this will help to prevent the serious consequences of catching COVID-19 in pregnancy. This accumulating evidence will also allow midwives and other health professionals to provide better information to pregnant women and help to drive uptake higher.

"Our figures also highlight stark inequalities in uptake with many of the most vulnerable women in our society going unvaccinated."

Dr Latifa Patel, from the British Medical Association, said: "98% of pregnant women who go into hospital with COVID have not been vaccinated. This shows very clearly how important it is to be protected against the virus. Pregnant women must be able to have a conversation with a healthcare professional they trust about the risks of not having the vaccine.

"Women must be allowed to raise their concerns and talk personally about their own situation and know that their healthcare professional will give them the time that they need."

Tags: Childbirth and Pregnancy | Flu & Viruses | Pharmaceuticals | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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