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The government has launched a campaign to encourage pregnant women who have not had a first, second, third or booster Covid-19 jab to come forward and get vaccinated as soon as possible.
The campaign by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Royal College of Midwives is highlighting the serious risks of catching Covid-19 and the benefits vaccines bring to protecting both mothers and their babies.
It is urging pregnant women “don’t wait to take the vaccine” and is highlighting the risks of Covid-19 to mother and baby, as well as the benefits of vaccination.
While occupational health has not specifically been mentioned within the campaign, it is encouraging pregnant women who have concerns or questions about Covid-19 vaccination to seek out medical advice, whether from a GP, midwife or other health professional, which could include OH.
DHSC chief scientific adviser and honorary consultant obstetrician Professor Lucy Chappell said: “Getting a Covid-19 vaccine is one of the most important things a pregnant woman can do this year to keep herself and her baby as safe from this virus as possible.
“If you haven’t had your Covid-19 vaccine, I would urge you to speak to your clinician or midwife if you have any questions or concerns, and book in your vaccine as soon as you can,” she said, highlighting that data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System had shown 96.3% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 symptoms between May and October 2021 had been unvaccinated, a third of whom (33%) required respiratory support.
Around one in five women hospitalised with the virus needed to be delivered preterm to help them recover and one in five of their babies needed care in the neonatal unit, she added.
Nic Paton is consulting editor of OHW+. One of the country's foremost workplace health journalists, Nic has written for OHW+ and Occupational Health & Wellbeing since 2001, and edited the magazine from 2018.