Chief Midwifery Officer for England urges pregnant women to get NHS COVID vaccine, as study shows none of those hospitalised with symptomatic Covid-19 were fully vaccinated

Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent has written to midwives and GP practices across the country stressing the need to encourage pregnant women to get the vaccine to protect them and their baby. Since April, pregnant women have been offered it in line with their age cohort.

SPS commentary:

Analysis of data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (n=3371 women admitted to hospital with Covid-19) show that Covid-19 infection during alpha and delta variant dominant periods was associated with more severe infection and worse pregnancy outcomes compared to Wildtype infection.

A total of four women admitted with symptomatic Covid-19 infection during the study period (01/2/21 to 11/07/21) had received their first vaccine dose (5-16 weeks prior to their positive test). However no fully vaccinated pregnant women were admitted to hospital with symptomatic Covid-19 during the study. The authors comment that this finding is greatly reassuring, but note there were insufficient data to examine the impact of vaccination status on severity of infection.

Vaccine uptake by pregnant women is reported to be low compared to the general population. Public Health England recently reported that 51,724 pregnant women in England have received their first dose, and of these 20,648 are fully immunised, where approximately 643,000 women give birth each year. The study authors say that their findings highlight the urgent need for an international approach to tackle vaccine misinformation and improve uptake of the vaccine during pregnancy, potentially through change of policy to prioritise appointments for pregnant women and bring forward second doses.


NHS England

Resource links:

Link to study (preprint)