Since July, one-in-five Covid patients receiving treatment through a special lung-bypass machine have been 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.
England’s top midwife is today reassuring women that the vaccine is safe and effective during pregnancy and is recommended by clinicians and charities.
Out of all women between the ages of 16 and 49 on ECMO in intensive care, pregnant women make up almost a third – 32 per cent, which is up from just six per cent at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
A mum-to-be who spent nearly a month in an NHS hospital’s critical care unit after catching coronavirus during her pregnancy has now joined health chiefs in encouraging pregnant women to get the Covid vaccine.
Claire, aged 33, from Kent, was hospitalised with coronavirus for a month in July this year, and wants fellow expectant mothers to know the serious health risks that not having the Covid-19 vaccine poses to them and their unborn baby.
She said: “I completely understand the hesitation not to get vaccinated when you are growing a child inside you, and after experiencing two miscarriages before the pandemic, the fear of being pregnant again with the worry of Covid was sending my anxiety through the roof.
“But after what happened, I can honestly say that the risk of not having the Covid vaccine far outweighs any doubts about having it.”
During her time in hospital she was put on a ventilator while in a medically induced coma.
Nearly a month after she was initially admitted to hospital, Claire was allowed to go home, where she is gradually recovering with her husband, and their unborn child, who is doing well.
Claire is now urging other pregnant women to consider getting the Covid vaccine to significantly reduce their risk of catching coronavirus and having the same experience.
Data from Public Health England shows that over 81,000 pregnant women have received the first dose of the Covid jab, and around 65,000 have received their second dose.
Health chiefs are now calling on all expectant mums to get vaccinated to protect them and their baby against coronavirus.
Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Chief Midwifery Officer for England, said: “This is another stark reminder that the Covid-19 jab can keep you, your baby and your loved ones, safe and out of hospital. You can receive vaccination at any time in 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 do so as soon as possible.”
Covid vaccination in pregnancy is considered safe and is recommended by the Royal College of Obstetricians, Royal College of Midwives and the UK Tetralogy Service.
Data from over 100,000 covid vaccinations in pregnancy in England and Scotland, and a further 160,000 in the US, show there has been no subsequent harm to the foetus or infant.