1,681 unvaccinated pregnant women hospitalised for COVID-19
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1,681 unvaccinated pregnant women hospitalised for COVID-19

England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, says academic data from February 1 to September 30 has revealed that 1,714 pregnant women were admitted to intensive care unit with Covid-19, adding that 1,681 which amounts to 98% had not been vaccinated.

Whitty told a Downing Street press briefing that the figures are ‘a major concern’ as he renewed a plea for anyone who has yet to take up the vaccine to do so.

‘And if you go to those who are very severely ill in intensive care, of 235 women admitted to ICU, 232 of them – over 98% – had not been vaccinated.’

Prof Whitty went on: ‘These are preventable admissions to ICU and there have been deaths.

‘All the medical opinion is really clear that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks in every area. This is a universal view among doctors and among the midwife advisory groups and among the scientific advisory groups.

‘So can I please encourage all women who are pregnant or wishing to become pregnant to get their vaccination.’

It comes after a senior doctor called last week for pregnant women to get the vaccine ‘as soon as you can’ to protect themselves and their baby.

Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, told BBC News that unvaccinated pregnant women should not ‘defer the vaccination until after the pregnancy has ended but to get vaccinated while they are pregnant’.

His call came as the family of a woman who died before getting the chance to hold her new-born daughter made their own plea for people to get the jab.

Prof Finn told the BBC: ‘We now recognise that pregnant women are really at very substantially higher risk of getting seriously ill as compared to women of the same age who are not pregnant, and of course that increases the risk of premature delivery and the risks for the child.

‘So pregnant women wherever you are in your pregnancy, come forward, get vaccinated and protect yourself and your baby as soon as you can.

‘There are no described risks and very large numbers of pregnant women have now received these vaccines without any report of lost pregnancies or damage or injury to the foetus.

‘So far no evidence at all of any risks of the vaccine, but lots of evidence of real risk of the infection.’

Saiqa Parveen, 37, from Birmingham, was taken to hospital in September after contracting Covid-19 and her daughter was delivered by emergency caesarean section when she was eight months pregnant.

She died on November 1 before getting a chance to hold her new-born child.

Her brother, Qayoum Mughal, told the BBC: ‘I pray to everybody, please, get the vaccine. Save yourselves and your loved ones.’

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), previously said it was ‘vital’ pregnant women received both vaccines as well as the third dose booster vaccine if they are eligible for it.

Chief scientific adviser for the Department of Health and Social Care, Professor Lucy Chappell, told BBC News: ‘Of women, over 98% unvaccinated with Covid-19 in hospital.

‘Never too late in pregnancy to get vaccinated or have conversation with midwife or GP or obstetrician and we can reduce number of people in hospital and intensive care.

‘Overwhelming data on safety on vaccines is very positive.’

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