Pregnant women urged to get vaccinated


Call from mums-to-be who have already protected themselves and their babies against COVID-19

Pregnant women are being urged to get vaccinated against COVID-19.   The call comes from other expectant mothers who have already received at least their first vaccination against the virus.   They say others mums-to-be should do the same to protect themselves and their babies.

Mother-of-two Laura Brunton is expecting her third child in November and has received her first jab.

The 38-year-old, who is being cared for by Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust, made the decision to get the vaccine to give her and her unborn child the best possible protection against COVID-19.

Laura said: “I initially didn’t want the vaccine as I was worried about the effect it could have on my unborn child. However, once I reached the 20-week mark and realised that the virus isn’t going away anytime soon, I knew I had to do my own research and make up my own mind.

“I realised there was a lot of scare-mongering and click-bait out there that was unsubstantiated with facts or research. I was reassured by the advice of health professionals and available research and took the decision to get vaccinated as I knew it would provide the best possible defence for me and my unborn child.

“I hope to breastfeed again so either way my baby and I are going to be physically connected for some time and I need be to be as fit and healthy as I can be to do this. 

“The vaccination itself was painless. A doctor at the vaccine centre took me to one side and answered any questions I had. I had a sore arm for a few days but no other side effects.”

The NHS in Oxfordshire is offering reassurance to women that they can have the COVID-19 vaccine while trying to get pregnant, are pregnant, or breastfeeding – and that it will not impact on their fertility.

Cllr Dr Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini, an OUH Consultant Anaesthetist and councillor at Oxford City Council, received her first vaccine in January, the final month of her pregnancy, and her second while breastfeeding.

She said: “For me, it was so important to get vaccinated because the risk of suffering the horrendous effects of COVID-19 is greater than the mild risks from the vaccine.

“I am so relieved that I was able to protect myself and my baby by getting vaccinated. It must be such a worrying time for so many pregnant mums out there with cases on the rise and the lifting of restrictions.

“Thank you to the colleagues who helped me make an informed decision about my baby and vaccination. Baby Emaan is happy, healthy, and currently trying to learn to crawl.”

Young women over the age of 18 are encouraged to book their vaccination via the NHS website to help protect not only themselves and their baby, but also their families.

Dr Brenda Kelly, a Consultant Obstetrician at OUH, said: “It is essential that all sections of the community receive the COVID-19 vaccine to reduce serious illness and help protect each other.

“Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the most effective way of preventing infection. Vaccination is one of our most important tools to help reduce the spread of the virus.

“Most pregnant women who contract the virus will experience a mild flu-like illness. Some may go on to develop long Covid and long-term symptoms such as extreme fatigue. The risk of serious infection increases if pregnant women are in the later stage of pregnancy.

“In this group we see higher rates of admission to intensive care and increased risk of prematurity, which can have lasting consequences for a baby. Contracting COVID-19 also doubles the risk of stillbirth. The vaccine can help these risks.”

She added: “Many pregnant and breastfeeding women worry about the potential impact on their baby, which is understandable.

“There is currently limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy from clinical trials as pregnant women were not recruited into these. However, real-world data indicates that there is no evidence that the vaccines cause harm to women or their babies if pregnant or breastfeeding.

“In the USA, more than 130,000 pregnant women have now been vaccinated and no safety concerns were identified.

“Ultimately, however, it is a woman’s decision whether to get the vaccine, and I would strongly recommend that all pregnant women consider vaccination and discussing it further with their GP or maternity team.”

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