Pregnant women put on UK’s priority Covid vaccine list

Pregnant women put on UK’s priority Covid vaccine list

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Pregnant women are at heightened risk from Covid and should get vaccinated to protect themselves and their child, say UK experts.

The advisory group on vaccines, the JCVI, has put them on the priority list for jabs, similar to people with underlying health conditions.

Some mums-to-be have died from Covid and research shows higher rates of premature births link to infection.

Vaccines are safe to give in pregnancy and cut the risk of severe Covid.

The NHS says mums-to-be can book jab appointments for first, second or third doses.

It comes as some pregnant women say they have queued for hours at busy vaccination centres.

High priority

Over the course of the pandemic, more pregnant women catching the disease have been experiencing more severe disease. And more have needed to be admitted to intensive care.

The vast majority of those who have become very sick have been women who have not been vaccinated.

According to data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System, between May and October 2021, there were:

  • 1,436 pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid and of these only 4% had had vaccines
  • 17 deaths from Covid among pregnant women
  • 4 neonatal deaths from Covid (babies under 28 days)

Figures from August 2021 show vaccine uptake remains low – with 22% of pregnant women in England having had at least one jab.

Rates were lower in black and other ethnic minority groups.

Chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, Prof Wei Shen Lim, said: “Women who are pregnant are strongly encouraged to have a first, second or booster vaccine dose as appropriate in order to better protect yourself and your baby from any serious consequences from Covid-19.”

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