South East Regional Chief Midwife for the NHS, Jenny Hughes, is encouraging pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

This comes as new data has revealed that nearly 20% of the most critically ill COVID patients are pregnant women who have not been vaccinated.

Jenny Hughes said:

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“Vaccines save lives, and this is another stark reminder that the COVID-19 jab can keep you, your baby and your loved ones, safe and out of hospital.

“I’d like to reassure pregnant women that the COVID-19 vaccines are considered safe at any time during pregnancy, but the risks that unvaccinated pregnant women face of becoming severely unwell if they catch COVID-19 show exactly why we advise you to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Double-jabbed mother of 2, Sarah-Jane Robertson, who gave birth to a healthy baby girl a few weeks ago, has said:

“I can understand why some pregnant women are perhaps reluctant to get jabbed, as this is how I felt right at the beginning of my pregnancy, mainly due to lots of misinformation I was hearing and reading at the time.

“However, it wasn’t until I went away and did my own research, spoke to my Dr and a friend abroad, who is a specialist in this field and told me I was insane not to get the jab, that I began to change my mind.

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“What really pushed me to signing up for my vaccination was when a pupil at a school I teach at had both parents catch the Delta variant and were in ICU for over a month. I remember thinking at that time that I have a three-year-old and the reality of how severe this virus was and how it affected the young children in this family, really hit home.”

Sarah went onto having both her COVID-19 vaccinations and other than experiencing a sore arm for a short period, she reported feeling absolutely fine.

Since July, 1 in 5 COVID patients receiving treatment through a special lung-bypass machine were expectant mums who have not had their first jab.

Pregnant women have been treated with a therapy called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), used only when a patient’s lungs are so damaged by COVID that a ventilator cannot maintain oxygen levels. Out of all women between the ages of 16 and 49 on ECMO in intensive care, pregnant women make up almost a third (32%) – up from just 6% at the start of the pandemic.

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Since vaccinations began in December 2020, almost every person who has received ECMO for COVID in the UK has been unvaccinated, NHS data shows.

Data from Public Health England showed that over 81,000 pregnant women have received the first dose of the life-saving COVID jab, and around 65,000 have received their second dose.

Vaccination in pregnancy is considered safe and is recommended by the Royal College of Obstetricians, Royal College of Midwives and the UK Tetralogy Service.

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