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Practices urged to recommend vaccines to pregnant women at ‘every contact’

by Jess Hacker
3 December 2021

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NHS England has urged GPs and other NHS staff to ‘make every contact count’ with pregnant people, as part of a renewed effort to boost uptake.

In a letter sent to GPs and PCN-led vaccine sites this week (1 December), NHSE asked colleagues to continue to build confidence in vaccines among pregnant women and people planning pregnancy.

It said that as hospitalisations of pregnant women continue to rise, it is ‘more important than ever’ that staff advise these patients of the benefits of Covid-19 and flu vaccination.

This should include recommending both shots to pregnant patients, and booster shots to any who are already double jabbed.

People can receive the vaccine at any point in pregnancy, and are encouraged to do so as soon as possible to ensure the best protection during the third trimester.

The letter warned that around one-in-three women hospitalised with the virus need to be delivered preterm to help them recover. One-in-five of their babies need care in the neonatal unit.

In October, Management in Practice reported that almost 20% of the most critically ill Covid patients in England between July and October were pregnant women who had not been vaccinated.

The letter, which was signed by Dr Nikita Kanani, NHSE’s medical director for primary care, comes after a wealth of new data was published and guidance updated.

NHSE asked leaders to ensure clinical teams are up to date on the latest Covid and flu vaccine guidance for the patient group.

Data published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) last week further confirmed the safety of vaccines in pregnancy.

Between January and August 2021, more than 355,000 women gave birth, of whom 24,759 had received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine before delivery, it said.

The UKHSA analysis found that among vaccinated and unvaccinated women there is a similar very low risk of still birth, prematurity and low birth weight.

And earlier this week, the JCVI recommended the booster programme be extended to all adults over 18 in response to the Omicron variant, which will include people who are pregnant.

Category => Covid-19

Category => News

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