JCVI makes pregnant women priority group for covid jab as research shows vulnerability to serious illness

Wrexham.com > News

Posted: Fri 17th Dec 2021

Updated: Fri 17th Dec

Pregnant women who have yet to receive a coronavirus vaccine are being urged to come forward for vaccination as soon as possible.

It comes as the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) announced that pregnant women should now be considered a clinical risk group within the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The number of pregnant women coming forward for vaccination has so far been lower than anticipated.

Recent data published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) adds to the existing international evidence, which has not identified any safety concerns of vaccinating women during pregnancy.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, Chair of JCVI COVID-19 Immunisation, said: “There is no evidence to suggest that C

“OVID-19 vaccines used in pregnancy increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirths, congenital abnormalities or birth complications. Having a UK approved COVID-19 vaccine is safer than having COVID-19 itself.”

“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.”

Additional efforts focused on improving vaccine uptake amongst pregnant women will take place, with a coordinated response from professional groups including midwifery, charities and support from local community leaders.

The decision to recognise pregnant women as a clinical risk group has been welcomed by midwifery and gynaecologists, who say there are “serious risks” to women who catch coronavirus whilst pregnant.

Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said: “We welcome the announcement from the JCVI that recognises pregnant women are more vulnerable to severe illness should they get infected and will therefore be prioritised for vaccination.

“This is something we have been calling on the JCVI to introduce and we are pleased they have listened.

“It is vital that pregnant women can easily access the booster vaccine to ensure that a good level of protection against COVID-19 and the new variant is maintained.

“Women who do develop symptomatic COVID-19 have an increased risk of giving birth prematurely, and stillbirth.

“The latest data from UKHSA shows only a fifth of women who gave birth in August were vaccinated and we would strongly recommend that all pregnant women get vaccinated as soon as possible, as it’s the best way to protect themselves and their baby against COVID-19.

“We encourage the government to consider all available options to ensure that pregnant women are given priority when booking their COVID-19 vaccines.”

Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services, added: “For any mother to be, getting their first, second and booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine is one of the most important things they can do to protect themselves and their unborn baby against coronavirus and, particularly against the new omicron variant.

“We have been encouraging pregnant women to have their Covid-19 vaccinations for some time. New advice from Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) reinforces this message.

“The number of pregnant women coming forward for vaccination has been lower than we would want it to be, and this places mothers and their babies at risk.

“Based on the data about safety, together with the increased risk from Covid-19 the JCVI has advised that pregnant women should be considered as a clinical risk group and prioritised for Covid-19 vaccination.

“We strongly encourage all mothers to contact their health boards to make an appointment to have their first or second dose if they have not yet been vaccinated.

“Women waiting for a booster will be contacted by their health board.”

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