Pregnant women urged to come forward for covid vaccine after uptake lower than hoped

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Posted: Fri 28th Jan 2022

Pregnant women across North Wales are being urged to come forward for their coronavirus vaccine.

It comes as uptake in the group for the jab has been lower than initially anticipated.

In December 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.

Gill Harris, Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, has issued a fresh appeal urging women to come forward for their covid-19 vaccine.

Ms Harris said: “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 COVID-19 and, particularly against the new omicron variant.

“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.

“We strongly encourage all mothers to be to attend one of our drop-in clinics across North Wales or book an appointment online.”

As part of the health board’s weekly vaccination update details are also provided on the uptake of the jab so far, with more than 1.5 million jabs administered to people living or working in the region.

Over 81 per cent of those who are eligible have also received their booster vaccine.

This week saw the completion of offering the vaccine to housebound residents in North Wales, with 100 per cent of the most vulnerable protected against coronavirus.

The next stage of the rollout involves offering the jab to five to 11 year olds in clinical risk groups or who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed.

Ms Harris said: “This week we will continue to contact children with underlying health conditions by telephone to arrange an appointment, there is no need to contact the Health Board.

“Where possible, these appointments will be arranged in a familiar setting, such as a children’s outpatient department in one of our hospitals.

“So far there has been a good response from children in the 5 to 11 year old cohort that are living with an immunosuppressed person for the majority of the week, i.e. 4 days in 7 or more. This can be done when contact is made to arrange an appointment for the household member who is immunosuppressed, or by completing our online form which we will validate and be in contact to arrange an appointment.

“If anyone thinks their child is in a clinical risk group and has not been contacted they can leave their details with our Contact Centre on 03000 840004 for that eligibility to be checked.”

Booster doses are also being offered to 16 and 17 year olds, along with second doses to 12 to 15 year olds.

Second doses and boosters can be delivered at drop-in clinics across North Wales or you can also book an appointment online for some clinics or call 03000 840004.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have previously announced that individuals who are immunosuppressed should receive a third primary dose of vaccination.

Ms Harris said: “We have been working closely with clinicians to identify relevant individuals and determine whether a third or booster dose needs to be administered at a specific point within their treatment cycles, or whether there is a need to delay medication in order to ensure the greatest positive immune response to the vaccine.

“The majority of those identified do not need specific timing and they will receive a letter of appointment for their third primary dose.

“If they have already had a booster, this will be amended on their record to a third primary dose and they will be invited for a booster no sooner than three months (91 days) later.

“We are continuing to work closely with our clinicians to invite those that require a specific timing based on their treatment and/or medication schedule.”

She added: “You are always welcome if you change your mind to come forwards and be vaccinated, we still have the staff in place and vaccines available for people who haven’t had their first, second, third or booster doses.

“It is important to make sure you protect yourself, your families and our NHS services from COVID-19 so we would urge to book their appointments as soon as possible.

“If you’re eligible for your first, second or booster dose, you can attend one of our drop-in clinics across North Wales. You can also book an appointment online for some clinics or call 03000 840004.”

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