New data published today by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) provides more reassurance that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe in pregnancy.
The figures show that there has been a steady increase in the number of women who have been vaccinated before giving birth. In August 2021, only 22.5% of women giving birth had received at least one dose of the vaccine. The latest figures for October 2021 show that this has increased to 41.3%.
The RCOG strongly recommends pregnant women get vaccinated against COVID-19, as the best way to protect themselves and their babies from the virus.
- Latest data reinforces the good safety record of COVID-19 vaccinations in pregnant women, with no increased risk of still birth, premature birth or low birth weight
- Data shows rates of live births at term without low birthweight in vaccinated women were similar to, or higher than, those in women who were not vaccinated in pregnancy
- COVID-19 vaccine uptake in pregnant women at delivery has increased but remains low in comparison to the general population in the same age groups
- Figures highlight stark inequalities in uptake – women of Black ethnicity and women living in the most deprived areas in England are least likely to have been vaccinated in pregnancy
Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:
“It is encouraging to see the number of women who gave birth in October 2021 who had received the COVID-19 vaccine has nearly doubled from previous figures from August 2021. We hope that this increase in uptake will reassure and encourage other pregnant women who have not yet been vaccinated to come forward for their first, second or booster doses.
“We know that pregnant women are more vulnerable of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, which can lead to an increased risk of giving birth prematurely, and stillbirth. We have high-quality evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect both pregnant women and their babies against COVID-19.
“We remain concerned that those living in the most deprived areas of England and women of Black ethnicity were the least likely to be vaccinated before giving birth, and we continue to advocate for concerted efforts to support these women to feel more confident about having the vaccine.”
Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, Consultant, the UK Health Security Agency, said: “There is growing evidence indicating that if you are pregnant, you are at increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19, especially in late pregnancy. We know that the COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK are highly effective at protecting against hospitalisation and our ongoing monitoring of the vaccine programme continues to provide reassuring evidence on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women. I would urge all pregnant women to come forward and get their vaccine without delay. This is the best way to protect you and your baby.”
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Notes to Editors:
- UKHSA press release can be found here
- UKHSA’s weekly vaccine surveillance report, including the latest pregnancy data, can be found here: 27 January 2022 (week 4).
- The RCOG has an extensive Q&A section for pregnant women and their families on the RCOG website: www.rcog.org.uk/coronavirus-pregnancy