Skip to main content
Back to news homepage

RCOG supports government vaccine campaign

News 10 January 2022

The 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 from today.

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 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, and book in your vaccine as soon as you
can.” 

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 Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: 

“We welcome this national campaign as an important way of amplifying the very clear message to pregnant women that vaccination provides the best protection for both them and
their babies from COVID-19. We urge all pregnant women to get vaccinated as
soon as possible, and to get boosted 3 months after the second dose. 

“We are very concerned that many pregnant women have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 and we hope this campaign will help reassure them that vaccination is safe and
effective. Pregnant women are more vulnerable of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 infection, and this can lead to an increased risk of giving birth prematurely, and stillbirth.” 

Dr Jen Jardine, from the RCOG, who is also 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.” 

Gill Walton, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said:

“There is overwhelming evidence that the COVID vaccine is safe for pregnant women and for their babies – and that it’s the best way to keep them safe from harm. Sadly, there are too many pregnant women being admitted to hospital with COVID, and 96.3% of them haven’t been vaccinated.

“The consequences of COVID when you are pregnant are clear and potentially devastated, from increased possibility of premature birth and admission to intensive care to a heightened risk of stillbirth.

“We know that pregnant women want to do everything they can to protect their baby, which is why midwives want to reassure them that vaccination is the best thing they can do.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact the RCOG press office on +44 (0)7740 175342 or email pressoffice@rcog.org.uk.

Notes to Editor

  • The advertising assets can be viewed here
  • We have developed an extensive Q&A and decision aid for pregnant women and their families: https://www.rcog.org.uk/coronavirus-pregnancy
  • The RCOG and RCM have published this policy position statement about COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy.
  • In December, the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that pregnant women of any age should be considered a clinical risk group within the COVID-19 vaccination programme. 

  • All pregnant women in the UK have been offered first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 booster vaccines are being offered to all pregnant women over age of 18 years, 3 months after their second dose. 

  • Pregnant women of any age should be considered a clinical risk group within the COVID-19 vaccination programme and to support this pregnant women have been added to Priority Group 6 for vaccination.