The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have joined forces with the government to launch a new campaign urging pregnant women who have not yet had their first, second, third or booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to get their jab as soon as possible.
The campaign also highlights the serious risks of catching COVID-19 and the benefits the vaccines bring to protecting both mothers and their babies.
Testimonies of pregnant women who have had the jab to keep themselves safe will be played out in adverts across social media and radio stations across the country.
The new campaign urges pregnant women ‘don’t wait to take the vaccine’ and highlights the risks of COVID-19 to mother and baby, and the benefits of vaccination.
The latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows COVID-19 vaccinations provide strong protection for pregnant women against the virus. It also shows the vaccines are safe for pregnant women, with similar birth outcomes for those who had the vaccine and those who had not.
DHSC Chief Scientific Adviser and Honorary Consultant Obstetrician Professor Lucy Chappell commented:
“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.”
Data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System shows 96.3% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 symptoms between May and October 2021 were unvaccinated, a third of which (33%) requiring respiratory support. Around 1 in 5 women who are hospitalised with the virus need to be delivered preterm to help them recover and 1 in 5 of their babies need care in the neonatal unit.
The COVID-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant women and have no impact on fertility. 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. In August 2021, only 22% of women who gave birth were vaccinated.
Dr Jen Jardine, from the RCOG, who is also seven months pregnant and has had her COVID-19 booster jab, commented:
“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.”