GMB: Charlotte Hawkins quizzes Grant Shapps on vaccines
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Four coronavirus vaccines are approved for use in the UK from Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen. Certain vaccines are available for pregnant women, and England’s chief midwife has urged pregnant women to come forward, as many are unvaccinated.
Data released by Public Health England last week showed 51,724 pregnant women in England received at least one dose of a vaccine.
Of these, 20,648 women have also received their second vaccine dose, but thousands of pregnant women remain unvaccinated.
In a letter to midwives, obstetricians and GP practices, chief midwife for England Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent said all healthcare professionals have “a responsibility to proactively encourage pregnant women” to get the jab.
More than 99 percent of pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, according to a recent study from Oxford University.
Researchers at the university described their findings as “concerning”, saying that one in 10 pregnant women admitted to hospital with symptoms of coronavirus often require intensive care.
Marian Knight, professor of maternal and child population health at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, and chief investigator of the study, said: “It is extremely good news that so few vaccinated pregnant women have been admitted to hospital with COVID-19.
“However, it is very concerning that admissions of pregnant women to hospital with COVID-19 are increasing and that pregnant women appear to be more severely affected by the Delta variant of the disease.
“Around 200 pregnant women were admitted to hospital with COVID-19 last week.
“I cannot emphasise more strongly how important it is for pregnant women to get vaccinated in order to protect both them and their baby.”
Professor Knight added to Radio 4’s Today Programme that pregnant women “can be reassured about the safety of the vaccine.”
She said: “And we need to emphasise the benefits, not only to them but we know that antibodies are passed on to their babies as well, so it’s really important not just to prevent illness in you as a pregnant woman, but also to prevent the consequences of illness for your baby.”
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Can pregnant women receive the Covid vaccine?
People aged 18 and over who are pregnant, or who think they might be pregnant, are eligible for a Covid vaccine.
Those who are breastfeeding or who are trying for a baby are also eligible for a vaccine.
It is important to note that the coronavirus vaccines cannot give a pregnant woman or their baby COVID-19.
Which vaccines are recommended for pregnant women?
Pregnant women should preferably receive either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine if they have not had a Covid vaccine yet.
The NHS guidance explains: “This is because these vaccines have been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and no safety concerns have been identified.”
However, if a pregnant woman has already received the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for their first dose and did not experience any serious side effects, a second dose of the same vaccine is recommended.
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