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Pregnant women urged to get their COVID-19 vaccine

20 Dec 2021

The offer is part of an NHS drive to encourage more pregnant women in Liverpool to get vaccinated – particularly with the new omicron variant now circulating widely.

COVID-19 vaccines offer pregnant women the best possible protection against COVID-19 disease, which can be very serious in later pregnancy for some women – but to date, just 42% in the city have taken up the offer.

There is currently no evidence to suggest that a COVID-19 vaccine could be harmful during pregnancy, or to a woman’s future fertility either. However, contracting COVID-19 whilst pregnant does pose a number of known risks for both mum and baby. 

Latest NHS data shows that nearly 20% of the most critically ill COVID-19 patients nationally are now pregnant women who have chosen not been vaccinated. Becoming 'critically ill' means that you are likely to be hospitalised, have intensive care or be placed on a ventilator to help you breathe.

In addition, pregnant women with COVID-19 are also more likely to encounter pregnancy complications particularly during the third trimester, such as an increased risk of premature birth (before 37 weeks), or of needing early induction.

Dr Alice Bird, a Consultant Obstetrician at Liverpool Women’s Hospital said:

““The COVID-19 vaccine is safe to have and is effective at any stage of pregnancy. It is also safe for women undergoing fertility treatment or those planning a pregnancy soon.

We understand the concerns about having the vaccine in pregnancy but we want to reassure women that there is no evidence of a link between the vaccine and an increased risk of infertility or pregnancy complications.

We are seeing more and more pregnant women in Liverpool becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 and we have witnessed the impact that this has had on them and their families. They have all been unvaccinated.

It is crucial that women who are pregnant are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and we would urge all pregnant women in Liverpool to have their vaccination as soon as possible.”.

Dr Fiona Lemmens, a local GP and Chair of NHS Liverpool CCG added:

It is desperately sad that nearly 1 in 5 COVID-19 patients who are most critically ill in hospital are now pregnant women who have not been vaccinated.

There have been absolutely no safety concerns raised over pregnant women receiving the COVID-19 vaccine either here in the UK or internationally, but becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 during pregnancy is a real risk and can be dangerous for both mum and baby.

“That’s why as health professionals, we want to urge all pregnant women in Liverpool not to delay being vaccinated until after their pregnancy – but to get protected against getting seriously ill with COVID-19 now.”

The Liverpool Women’s new midwife led vaccination clinic for pregnant women is being held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays every week, from 9.00am to 4.30pm in the Antenatal Clinic at the hospital.

The service offers dedicated appointment slots for pregnant women and their support partner which are bookable by calling 0151 702 4328 (Option 2 “Antenatal”). 

Alternatively you can email: antenatalvaccinations@lwh.nhs.uk any time with your name and contact number to make an initial request for an appointment and a member of the team will contact you (between 9am-5pm Monday to Friday) to confirm a date and time that is convenient.

Please note: No drop-in option is available at present, and this clinic is only for pregnant women receiving their care at Liverpool Women’s Hospital. If you are receiving your care through another provider please contact them or go through the national booking line at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine

When a pregnant women books and receives their vaccine at Liverpool Women’s, any support partners accompanying them at the time will also be offered both a COVID-19 and flu vaccine too.

If you have any concerns or questions about the vaccine, you are encouraged to speak to your midwife beforehand so they can advise you of its safety.

Rachel Mavers, Community Midwifery Matron, Liverpool Women’s Hospital added:

“If you are feeling at all unsure about whether to get a COVID-19 vaccine whilst pregnant, please do speak to one of our team of community midwives for advice. We understand that many women have concerns about getting the COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy, and we really want to help people to make fully informed choices about what’s best for themselves and for their baby, having got all the facts.”

“We’re really happy to discuss the benefits and any potential risks you might be worried about during the vaccination appointment, or at any of your routine antenatal appointments – so please, if you have any questions or concerns, do just ask.”

As well as being able to book a dedicated appointment slot for COVID-19 and flu vaccinations at Liverpool Women’s Hospital now, pregnant women can also book to get a COVID-19-vaccine or booster dose online now at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119.

In addition, you can also search for nearby vaccination drop-in clinics via the national NHS booking system, and find a list of additional ‘pop up’ sessions taking place in Liverpool too.

For more details on how pregnant women can get vaccinated through Liverpool Women's Hospital or via the national vaccination service visit: https://www.liverpoolwomens.nhs.uk/covid19/