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Pregnant women of all ages urged to get vaccine


A nurse prepares a dose of Covid-19 vaccine

A nurse prepares a dose of Covid-19 vaccine

A nurse prepares a dose of Covid-19 vaccine

Pregnant women of all ages in Northern Ireland, including those aged under 18, have been urged to get their vaccination.

It follows the latest review of evidence by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

It advises that pregnant women of any age should be considered as a clinical risk group and prioritised for vaccination.

Coronavirus Data Graphs

Dr Dale Spence, the Department of Health’s Midwifery Officer, outlined the critical importance of vaccination.

“The data show that pregnant women are at increased risk of serious consequences from coronavirus and that the majority of pregnant women admitted to hospitals across the UK with severe Covid-19 have been unvaccinated,” she said.

“Whilst these new data clearly show that outcomes of Covid-19 for pregnant women and their babies are getting worse, it also shows the very strong protection that receiving a vaccination provides.”

Dr Spence added: “I would encourage you to come forward without delay if you haven’t already been vaccinated, or are due your booster. I want to assure you that the safety of you and your baby is our priority. Vaccination remains vital and is the most effective way that you can help protect yourself and your unborn baby.

“Pregnant women can speak to their midwife, obstetrician or GP about vaccination.”

Vaccination against Covid-19 in pregnancy is now strongly recommended by both the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The RCM’s Northern Ireland Director, Karen Murray, commented: “Having Covid-19 during pregnancy, particularly in the later stages, can have serious consequences for both mothers and their babies.

"It can double the chance of stillbirth and preterm birth, which can have long term health impact for the baby. Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women worldwide have now been vaccinated and there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating its safety.”

She continued: “Because of the increased risk to women and their babies we are pleased pregnant women in Northern Ireland will now be prioritised and encouraged to receive their booster.”

Dr Carolyn Bailie, Chair, Northern Ireland Committee of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “There is clear evidence that shows the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect pregnant women against the known risks of the virus, including admission to intensive care and prevention of premature birth.

“Pregnant women who have not yet been vaccinated should come forward as soon as possible, please do not wait until after the birth of your baby. Pregnancy puts you at higher risk and that is why it’s so important that you avail of the protection that vaccination provides while you are pregnant.”

Pregnant women of any age can receive their vaccination at a Health and Social Care Trust vaccination hub, with information available on Health Trust websites.

Vaccinations are also available at participating local pharmacies, with information on how to make an appointment online: Community Pharmacy Vaccinations - HSCB (hscni.net)

Further information on vaccination in pregnancy is published on www.nidirect.gov.uk/covidvaccine.

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