A total of 51,724 pregnant women in England have received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, the data from Public Health England (PHE) revealed, as the agency has encouraged more pregnant women to come forward for the vaccination.
The data shows that these were all women aged under 50 years of age, who reported that they were pregnant or could be pregnant at the time of receiving the vaccine. Of these, 20,648 women have received their second dose.
On 16 April 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that pregnant women should be offered the Covid-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.
Some pregnant women will have been vaccinated before this date if they are clinically vulnerable or are a healthcare worker, therefore these figures are likely to be much higher.
It is preferable for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available, as there is more safety data available on these vaccines in pregnancy.
Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “It is brilliant to see so many pregnant women coming forward for their Covid-19 vaccines, ensuring they protect themselves and their baby from this awful virus.
“While uncommon, severe illness from Covid-19 is more likely in later pregnancy and infection increases the risk of a premature birth. The Covid-19 vaccines are one of the best defences against infection, preventing at least 11.7 million infections in England alone. I urge everyone – including pregnant women – to get their vaccines as soon as they can.”
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are recommended for pregnant women in the UK because these vaccines have been given to over 130,000 pregnant women in the US and the data has not raised any safety concerns.
Women who are planning pregnancy, who are in the immediate postpartum period, or who are breastfeeding can be vaccinated with any vaccine, depending on their age and clinical risk group.
New data from PHE has also showed that the vaccination programme has directly averted over 52,600 hospitalisations (approximately 8,800 admissions in those aged 65 to 74; 20,300 in those aged 75 to 84; and 23,500 in those aged 85 and over).