Covid vaccine uptake in pregnant women rises to 60% but racial inequalities persist

Despite overall improvement, racial inqualities in vaccine uptake persist, experts warn

Rebecca Thomas
Health Correspondent
Thursday 12 May 2022 17:37
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<p>Pregnant women receives Covid-19 vaccine</p>

Pregnant women receives Covid-19 vaccine

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More pregnant women are coming forward for Covidvaccines as 60 per cent have now had their first jab, new data shows.

New data from the UK Health Security Agency revealed uptake of Covid vaccines among pregnant women rose from 53.7 per cent in December 2021 to 59.5 per cent in January 2022.

However, figures showed inequalities in the uptake across different ethnicities have persisted with just 30 per cent of black pregnant women having one or more doses in January. This compares to 57 per cent of white women, and 49 per cent of Asian women.

Those living in the most deprived areas also have the lower uptake with just 38 per cent of women having at least one jab, compared to 71.1 per cent in the least deprived areas.

The UK has struggled with uptake of Covid vaccines among pregnant women, despite research now showing the vaccines are safe.

Research published by St George’s University of London and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists this week showed women are 15 per cent less at risk of having a stillbirth if vaccinated.

Data published by the public health authority shows women who are unvaccinated are more likely to develop severe disease from Covid-19 and those who develop severe diease are more likely to have premature baby.

Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, deputy director the Immunisation and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Division at UK Health Security Agency, said: “The number of pregnant women coming forward for their Covid-19 vaccine is increasing month by month, which is very encouraging.

“We know that pregnant women are at higher risk of severe disease and the Covid vaccines provide high levels of protection against becoming seriously unwell and hospitalised.

“However, disparities in uptake persist, with women from some ethnic groups and those living in the most deprived areas being the least likely to be vaccinated. It is vitally important that we continue to address these disparities.

“We have extensive evidence from the UK and around the world supporting the safety of the currently recommended Covid vaccines for pregnant women.

“We continue to encourage all pregnant women to come forward for vaccination to give themselves and their baby the best possible protection against severe complications from Covid.

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