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Covid vaccination uptake low among black pregnant women

by Beth Gault
18 May 2022

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Just 31% of black pregnant women had one or more Covid vaccine doses by the time their baby was delivered between November 2021 and January 2022, latest figures have shown.

Uptake among pregnant black women was lower than among pregnant white women, according to an update from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

The number of pregnant women having one or more dose by the time their baby was delivered between November 2021 and January 2022 was 30.5% of black women and 57.5% of white women respectively.

However, the UKHSA said that uptake was improving over time among pregnant women – the take-up rate among women giving birth in January 2022 was 59.5%, compared with 54% in December 2021 and 49% in November 2021.

Disparity among the most deprived

There also remains a disparity between the most and least deprived areas of the UK, with vaccine uptake among pregnant women at 38.9% and 71.1% respectively.

Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, deputy director of the Immunisation and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Division at the UKHSA, 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.’

Uptake also low among under-12s

Vaccination uptake among 5-11-year-olds has also been low, with just 7% of the age group having had a dose of the vaccine, according to NHS England weekly data on Covid vaccinations.

The data, published 12 May, showed that 346,924 5-11-year-olds had received at least one dose as of 8 May, out of a possible five million eligible.

Vaccinations for this group were opened up beyond the most vulnerable in April, after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended two doses for the age group in February.

Also in February, NHS England said GP practices were not expected to lead on the vaccine rollout for 5-11-year-olds, in light of growing workforce pressures.

However, in May, it added that ‘paused’ Covid vaccine sites would be expected to resume administering jabs within five to 10 days when required.