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Health update: COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy

A message from Julie Webster, Wirral’s Director of Public Health

Dear residents,

I wanted to write my message to you all this week on the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine, especially if you’re pregnant.

According to recent data from Public Health England, at least 62,000 pregnant women in the UK had received at least one dose at the end of August. This is a good start, but we know there are women who are pregnant who have not yet come forward for the jab.

While it is absolutely your decision, I want to make clear that the vaccine offers those who are pregnant the best protection against COVID-19, which can be serious in later pregnancy for some.

Here are five key things you should consider if you still haven’t had the vaccine(s):

  1. The first dose of COVID-19 vaccine will give you good protection. You need the second dose to get longer lasting protection. You do not need to delay this second dose.
  2. There is no current evidence of any serious side effects for pregnant women. The vaccines do not contain living organisms that can multiply in the body, so they cannot infect an unborn baby in the womb.
  3. Although the COVID-19 vaccine itself is new, it’s been created based on treatments that have been used safely for pregnant women for many years – like the whooping cough or flu vaccines.
  4. Pregnant women are at greater risk of becoming severely unwell with COVID-19 (and other viruses such as flu), especially in the later stages of pregnancy. In fact, nearly 200 pregnant women were admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in the UK between May and July of this year.
  5. Becoming unwell with COVID-19 in the last trimester doubles your chance of stillbirth and triples your chance of having your baby prematurely. It also increases the chance of you needing an emergency caesarean (c-section). Getting vaccinated as soon as you can, will reduce these risks for you and your baby.

If you have concerns you can find more information on Public Health England’s website or the Royal College of Midwives – both of which are encouraging pregnant women to get vaccinated.

And remember, you can speak to your midwife, GP or practice nurse about any worries you have, or about how to get the vaccine at whatever stage of your pregnancy.

Finally, I want to share with you a video from Wirral’s very own Angela Kerrigan, Consultant Midwife at Wirral University Teaching Hospital (Arrowe Park). In the video, Angela tells us more about the Coronavirus vaccine for those who are pregnant:

Click here to view the video on Facebook. Click here to view the video on Twitter.

I hope this information has been helpful.

Take care,

Julie.