<p>Pregnant women receives Covid-19 vaccine</p>

Pregnant women receives Covid-19 vaccine

WhatsApp service provides fact-checked vaccine information for pregnant women

The helpline promises to answer questions from mothers and families within 24 hours

Saman Javed
Tuesday 24 August 2021 11:39

Fact-checking service Full-Fact has partnered with a women’s charity to help dispel Covid-19 vaccine myths and decrease jab hesitancy amongst pregnant women.

Pregnant Then Screwed, a charity that campaigns for the rights of pregnant women and mothers has collaborated with the fact-checker on a new WhatsApp-based helpline that promises to provide factual answers to questions about the Covid-19 vaccine within 24 hours.

The service, which is already live, can be contacted via message, image, video or voice note on (+44) 7521 770995 and will answer any questions from women and their families.

Full Fact said it never tells people what to think or what choices to make, rather it “directs people to accurate information from reputable sources so that they can make the most informed choice possible for themselves”.

Ahead of the service’s launch, the partnership has answered some of the most common questions in relation to vaccine hesitancy in pregnant women, including whether Covid-19 vaccines are causing miscarriages and if the jab may affect fertility.

Full Fact said there is no scientific reason that a vaccine might affect pregnancy. “Studies observing pregnant women who have been vaccinated have found people are not more likely to suffer a miscarriage if they have had the Covid-19 vaccine,” the fact-checker said.

It also concluded there is no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility. This has been backed by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), the British Fertility Association, the NHS and Public Health England.

The RCOG also states that there is no biologically plausible mechanism by which the vaccine would cause fertility problems.

The helpline comes after a recent survey of 9,000 women by Pregnant Then Screwed found that only 41 per cent had received a single dose of the vaccine, while just 21 per cent had received both doses.

Pregnant Then Screwed said fewer pregnant women had opted for the vaccine after original guidance, reversed in April, suggested that the jab should not be taken expectant or breastfeeding mothers. This was not because it was believed it was unsafe for them to do so but because there was not enough data from preliminary vaccine trials and studies.

Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed said misinformation about the vaccine has spread like “wildfire” amongst pregnant women.

“Understandably pregnant women are additionally sensitive to anything that could suggest the vaccine will cause issues for them or their baby and so it is imperative we work hard to dispel some of the myths which are gaining traction on the internet.

“Giving pregnant women access to factual, unbiased information will ultimately save lives and reduce anxiety,” Brearley told The Independent.

The latest data from the charity shows that of pregnant women who have been admitted to hospital with severe Covid-19 illness, most have been unvaccinated.

Full Fact said severe Covid-19 is ”more likely” for women who are pregnant than those who aren’t, especially for those in the third trimester.

“Crucially, no pregnant women who have received both doses of vaccine have been admitted to hospital since the vaccination programme began,” Pregnant Than Screwed said.

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