NHS in south west London urges pregnant women ‘don’t wait to take the vaccine’ as part of new campaign

The NHS in south west London is urging pregnant women who have not yet received their first, second, third or booster COVID-19 vaccination to do so without delay.

The call comes as a new national campaign launched this week after data revealed that almost all (96.3%) pregnant women who were hospitalised or admitted to intensive care with COVID-19 were unvaccinated. The campaign urges pregnant women ‘don’t wait to take the vaccine’, highlighting the risks of COVID-19 to mother and baby and the benefits of vaccination.

Croydon hospital maternity support worker and mother of three Catherine Cargill works on the frontline and also volunteers at a vaccination hub. She urged pregnant women to talk to the NHS in a video – watch or embed it using this link.

She said: “We’ve got lots of good resources and evidence now that it is safe for pregnant women to take the vaccine. The good thing in the hub is that when somebody comes in, we can still talk about them getting a vaccine. If they still have any questions or concerns, we’ll talk to them about that. So, it is a really good environment, it’s not pressured, it’s very calm and we support the people to have the vaccine.”

Expectant mothers can make an appointment using the national booking service to guarantee their jab at one of the many south west London clinics. Some local vaccination sites may offer a walk-in service but there may be a wait. Find a local clinic at here.

The government joined forces with experts from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) for the campaign highlighting the serious risks of catching COVID-19 and the benefits vaccination brings to protecting mothers and their babies. Testimonies of pregnant women who have had the jab to protect themselves were being played in adverts on social media and radio stations across the country from Monday (10 January).

Dr Jen Jardine, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, who is also seven months pregnant and has received her COVID-19 booster jab, said: “Both as a doctor and pregnant mother myself, we can now be very confident that the COVID-19 vaccinations provide the best possible protection for you and your unborn child against this virus. I would strongly call on all pregnant women like me, if you haven’t had the vaccine yet, to either speak to your GP or midwife if you still have questions and then book right away today.”

Department of Health and Social Care Chief Scientific Adviser and Honorary Consultant Obstetrician Professor Lucy Chappell said: “Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most important things a pregnant woman can do this year to keep herself and her baby as safe from this virus as possible.”

Data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System shows 96.3% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 symptoms between May and October 2021 were unvaccinated, a third of which (33%) requiring respiratory support. Around one in five women who are hospitalised with the virus need to be delivered preterm to help them recover and one in five of their babies need care in the neonatal unit.

Since April 2021, over 80,000 expectant mothers have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. In August 2021, only 22% of women who gave birth were vaccinated.

The government, its senior clinicians, and a range of independent experts from groups such as RCOG, the RCM and the British Fertility Society have made it clear that the COVID-19 vaccines have no impact on fertility.