Expectant mums in Derby and Derbyshire are being urged to get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves and their unborn baby from the virus.
National figures have revealed that no pregnant women who have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been admitted to hospital.
Since May this year, just three women had been admitted with COVID-related health issues after having their first vaccine. In contrast, almost all (98%) pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 had not been vaccinated.
Between February and September this year, 98.1% of the 1,714 pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 had not been vaccinated. No women who had received two doses of the vaccine were among the 235 pregnant women who required intensive care.
Since April this year, pregnant women have been offered the vaccination in line with their age cohort, and there is a renewed push across Derby and Derbyshire encouraging those who have not yet had their vaccination, or who have since become pregnant, to get vaccinated.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives have both recommended vaccination as the best defence for pregnant women against severe COVID-19 infection, while the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation confirms the vaccination has been shown to be effective and safe for pregnant women
Sophie, a midwife in Derbyshire, has shared her experience of working on a maternity ward during the pandemic while also being pregnant herself.
"There is a lot of evidence to warn pregnant women of the risks of getting Covid in pregnancy to both mum and baby. I have seen these risks first-hand. Making decisions for your baby, is always about weighing up risks and benefits. In this case, I felt strongly that the risk of staying unvaccinated, especially when restrictions were lifted, was far greater than any risk that vaccination carried.
"I was double vaccinated by the end of April. Being double vaccinated also gave me the confidence to continue working on the front-line in an NHS hospital and to go out, albeit with caution, in society. Many of my respected consultant colleagues reassured me about my decision, and I feel glad it is now endorsed by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Royal college of Midwives, who are experts in the field.
"I have experienced many admissions with Covid in pregnancy and have seen some very poorly mothers and babies having to be born pre-term because of this. I have seen mums and babies having to be separated, which is heart-breaking. However, it is amazing to hear that none of these admissions have been with anyone double vaccinated. I am extra reassured to know there is now lots more data in the trial about the Covid vaccine, than there was when they approved this vaccine for use.
"I cannot encourage other women enough, to go and get vaccinated for themselves and their babies. Having a baby should be a time of great joy, and anything that can keep you well and safe is worth having. I do respect, that it will and should always be a mum's choice. However, if you don’t decide this is right for you, you need to know that being unvaccinated and pregnant means you are very vulnerable, especially after 28 weeks of pregnancy."
Sophie also urged anyone debating whether to get the vaccine to use NHS.uk to see data which has now been published and to speak to their midwife or doctor.
People can book their first and second dose, or booster if they are eligible, through the National Booking Service, or find a walk-in near to them on the Grab a Jab website. Bookable and walk-in clinics across Derby and Derbyshire are also listed here.