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UKHSA reveals analysis of English data shows vaccine is safe in pregnancy

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The UK Health Security Agency says their data analysis reveals the Covid-19 vaccine is safe in pregnancy

Vaccine for pregnant women 474

Updated 1.12.21

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA, formerly Public Health England) has released their analysis of English data that revealed the Covid-19 vaccine is safe for pregnant women.

The UKHSA data reinforces international evidence that shows the vaccine is safe for expectant mothers.

The Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine has been offered to pregnant women since April of this year, but the report revealed that only 22% of women who gave birth in August had taken up at least one vaccine.

It is hoped that with the latest data confirming it’s safe in pregnancy, more pregnant women will choose to be vaccinated.

Concerns of higher rates of stillbirth and preterm births if vaccinated have been discounted by the UKHSA findings as it revealed similar rates for both vaccinated and unvaccinated women. 

For January to August 2021 the UKHSA found:

The stillbirth rate:
3.35 per 1,000 vaccinated women
3.6 per 1,000 unvaccinated women

Babies born with low birth weight:
5.28% among vaccinated women
5.36% among unvaccinated women

Percentage of premature births:
6.51% among vaccinated women
5.99% among unvaccinated women

The research said that the higher percentage of premature births in vaccinated women was said to be more likely because older women and those with underlying medical conditions would have been eligible for vaccinations earlier and they may have had a higher risk of premature birth.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at UKHSA, 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 in pregnancy."

Latest advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommends the booster vaccine for all people over the age of 18, meaning the majority of pregnant women will be eligible for their third dose when the NHS calls them forward.

This advice is welcomed by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the booster will be offered in order of descending age groups, with priority given to the vaccination of older adults and those in a COVID-19 at-risk group. The JCVI has also reduced the gap between vaccines and is now recommending people get their third dose three months after their second dose.

Dr Pat O’Brien, Vice President of the RCOG, said: “The news today means that most pregnant women will now be able to have their booster vaccine and protect themselves and their baby against Covid-19.

“It is crucial that people who are pregnant are fully vaccinated and protected against COVID-19 and we would urge everyone to have the third dose when they are offered it. All doses of the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines are safe for pregnant women.

“We are still very concerned about the low uptake of the vaccine among pregnant women, with recent UKHSA data showing only 1 in 5 people who gave birth in August were vaccinated. We know pregnant women can become severely ill from COVID-19 infection, particularly during their third trimester.”

Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the RCM, said: “It is more important than ever that pregnant women get the COVID vaccine or, for those who may have received both doses before getting pregnant, the booster.  You can have these at any time during your pregnancy, but would recommend you try to get both vaccines before your third trimester. We’ve already seen nearly 2000 pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID-19, 98% of whom were unvaccinated. The vaccine is safe, it’s effective and it can protect you and your baby, so please do take it up.

“We know that pregnant women want to do the best for their baby, to protect them as best they can. Across the world, hundreds of thousands of pregnant women have safely received the COVID vaccine, with no red flags for their or their babies’ health. If you are unsure or have any questions about the vaccination talk to your midwife, doctor or other healthcare professional who will be able to support you make the right choice for you and your baby.”

COVID vaccination-v3-04 FINAL

Bounty is working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA, formerly Public Health England) to help put vaccination information directly into the hands of pregnant women. 

Information is included inside the Bounty Pregnancy Information folder and the ‘You & Your Pregnancy’ magazine. 

Thanks to the amazing support from midwives, who are handing out our Pregnancy Information Folders, this vital information, will reach 40,000 pregnant women, every month.

Vaccination is recommended in pregnancy, but the decision whether to have the vaccine is your choice.

You may find the latest decision aid and information sheet from the Royal Colleges of Midwives and Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG) will help you to make a personal informed choice about whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are pregnant.
Read the latest decision aid information sheet from the Royal Colleges of Midwives and Obstetricians & Gynaecologists.

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Your up to date guide on the vaccine and pregnancy