A hospital patient is receiving intravenous therapy in their hand.
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20% Of Critically Ill Covid Patients In England Are Unvaccinated Pregnant Women

“This is another stark reminder that the COVID-19 jab can keep you, your baby, and your loved ones, safe and out of hospital.”

by Morgan Brinlee

England’s National Health Service (NHS) is urging pregnant people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as possible after recent data showed nearly 20% of critically ill Covid-19 patients are unvaccinated expectant mothers. Although pregnant people face an increased risk of serious illness from Covid-19, they remain one of the more hesitant populations when it comes to getting vaccinated against the potentially deadly virus. In England, some 65,000 pregnant people have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the UK Health Security Agency.

“The disproportionate number of unvaccinated pregnant women in intensive care demonstrates that there is a significant risk of severe illness from COVID-19 in pregnancy,” Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists President Dr. Edward Morris said in a statement released Monday by NHS. “We are urgently calling for all pregnant women to come forward for their vaccinations.”

According to NHS, one in five Covid-19 patients ill enough to be put on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), a life support machine used when a patient's lungs are so damaged that a traditional ventilator cannot maintain the necessary oxygen levels, between July and September were unvaccinated pregnant women. In fact, pregnant women now make up nearly one-third, or 32%, of all women between the ages of 16 and 49 currently on ECMO machines, NHS revealed. At the start of the pandemic, they made up just 26% of women on ECMO in intensive care units.

“This is another stark reminder that the COVID-19 jab can keep you, your baby, and your loved ones, safe and out of hospital,” Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, England’s chief midwifery officer, said in a statement released by NHS. “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.”

Data from the UK Health Security Agency has shown that more than 81,000 pregnant women in England have received at least one dose of a two-dose Covid-19 vaccination while some 65,000 pregnant women have been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, Public Health data from Scotland has shown that more than 14,000 pregnant women have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine as of late August.

Public health officials in the United Kingdom are now urging pregnant people to make sure they are vaccinated against Covid-19, noting real-world data has shown the vaccines to be safe and effective during pregnancy.

“We do understand women’s concerns about having the vaccine in pregnancy, and we want to reassure women that there is no link between having the vaccine and an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, or stillbirth,” Morris said. “There is robust evidence showing that the vaccine is the most effective way to protect both mother and baby against the possibility of severe illness from Covid-19.”