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Rochdale borough health chiefs are repeating calls for pregnant women to get their coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, with latest data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance Service (UKOSS) showing pregnant women are amongst week-on-week increases in the numbers of hospital admissions for COVID-19.
Public Health England reported last week that 51,724 pregnant women in England have received at least one dose of the vaccine, but there are hundreds of thousands of pregnant women unvaccinated.
Dr Sarah Purlackee, a GP in Middleton and clinical lead for women's health for NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group said:
"I urge pregnant women to be mindful of the need to protect themselves and their unborn babies from the risks posed by coronavirus, by having the vaccine as soon as they are offered it. Thankfully more and more people are having the jab and this is preventing serious harm and hospitalisation, however we are seeing some hospitalisation of local unprotected pregnant women who have not received the vaccine and this can be prevented."
'We are seeing some hospitalisation of local unprotected pregnant women'
Councillor Daalat Ali, cabinet member for health at Rochdale Borough Council added:
"COVID-19 infection in pregnancy carries a significant risk of hospital admission and a higher risk of severe illness than for the non-pregnant population and a higher risk of preterm birth. This latest research suggests the Delta variant is associated with an increased risk of severe illness among hospitalised pregnant women, compared with the variants of previous waves. Alongside our local NHS we are doing all we can to encourage pregnant women to get vaccinated."
The research also shows that of 171 pregnant women admitted to hospital between 16 May 2021 and 11 July 2021, none had been fully vaccinated. 3 (1.8%) had received a single dose of vaccine. 2 doses of the vaccine are important to achieve high levels of protection.
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) now recommend vaccination as one of the best defences against severe infection.
In spite of this, vaccine hesitancy has been high among pregnant women. Kuiama Thompson, interim director of public health in Rochdale borough said:
"It's important that expectant mums are aware of this latest research and reminded of the benefits of having the vaccine. I completely understand some women are hesitant, but it is important they protect themselves and their baby. We are advising they have the vaccine as early as possible in their pregnancy to ensure maximum protection in the third trimester. Please speak to your midwife if you have any questions."