14 December 2021
Pregnant women in Jersey are being urged to get vaccinated against COVID-19, following further evidence published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) re-emphasising that the vaccines are safe for this group.
From tomorrow [15 December], Fort Regent's Vaccination Centre will be introducing 'Walk in Wednesday' – a weekly walk-in day for pregnant women to get their first dose without a booked appointment.
This week, expectant mothers will begin to receive letters from the Deputy Medical Officer for Health, Dr Ivan Muscat. This will include information about the COVID-19 vaccine and will address any concerns they may have.
In the UK, more than 84,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and many are now encouraging other expectant mothers to do the same as part of a nationwide campaign.
Unvaccinated pregnant women who catch COVID-19 are more likely to be hospitalised and develop complications. One in five of the most critically ill Coronavirus patients in the UK are unvaccinated expectant mothers.
The Deputy Medical Officer for Health, Dr Ivan Muscat, said: "Having COVID-19 during pregnancy carries a significantly higher risk than having the vaccine, especially in the third trimester where catching COVID-19 approximately doubles the chance of stillbirth and triples the chance of needing to deliver the baby preterm.
"The vaccine is a safe and effective way for expectant mothers to protect themselves and their unborn child, and there is absolutely no evidence that COVID-19 causes miscarriage or affects your baby's development.
"The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) recommend that pregnant women receive two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as the primary vaccination course, as well as a booster dose, in order to have the best defense against the risks associated with catching COVID-19."
Dr Fiona Nelson, consultant obstetrician and gynecologist said: "It is so important that pregnant women get vaccinated against COVID-19 if they haven't already. With the virus greatly increasing the risk of severe illness and premature or still birth, vaccination is the best defence expectant mothers can give to their unborn child, as well as themselves.
"With COVID-19 cases increasing on Island and the emergence of the Omicron variant, we are strongly encouraging expectant mothers to book their vaccine – whether that is for their first, second, or booster dose.
"Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women worldwide have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and I hope that newly expectant mothers in Jersey also have the confidence to get vaccinated. I would like to urge those who have already been vaccinated to talk to other expectant mothers about the vaccine, and also encourage those who are hesitant to turn to their midwife for further advice and support.
"At Fort Regent, there are always nurses on hand to answer any concerns, and midwives are also regularly available to talk to pregnant women about the vaccine, so please feel free to come up for a chat."