Pregnant women in the South are being urged to get their Covid-19 vaccination

A nurse holding a bottle of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Credit: PA Images

The NHS in Oxfordshire is urging pregnant women to take up their free covid vaccine, stressing it is safe to do so.

It says the jab will protect them and their baby, whilst not impacting on their fertility.

Cases are rising across Oxfordshire and the NHS says it is "important" that all sections of the community get jabbed to protect against serious illness.

Current UK guidelines state that:

  • There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines have any effect on fertility or your chances of becoming pregnant.

  • COVID-19 vaccines offer people the best protection against COVID-19 disease which can be serious in later pregnancy for some women.

  • Vaccines can be received while breastfeeding.

  • Couples do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination

Experts say that whilst most pregnant women who contract the virus will experience a mild flu-like illness, there is a risk of serious infection if in the later stage of pregnancy.

Dr Brenda Kelly, a Consultant Obstetrician in Oxfordshire said:

"It is essential that all sections of the community receive the COVID-19 vaccine to reduce serious illness and help protect each other.

"Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the most effective way of preventing infection. Vaccination is one of our most important tools to help reduce the spread of the virus.

"Most pregnant women who contract the virus will experience a mild flu-like illness. Some may go on to develop long Covid and long-term symptoms such as extreme fatigue. The risk of serious infection increases if pregnant women are in the later stage of pregnancy.

"In this group we see higher rates of admission to intensive care and increased risk of prematurity, which can have lasting consequences for a baby. Contracting COVID-19 also doubles the risk of stillbirth. The vaccine can help these risks."

It is safe to have the Covid-19 vaccination if pregnant. Credit: PA Images

In the USA more than 130,000 pregnant women have now been vaccinated and no safety concerns were identified.

One mum in Oxfordshire was reluctant at first to take the vaccine, but after doing her research she decided to get jabbed.

Laurea Brunton, who is expecting her third child in November said:

"I initially didn't want the vaccine as I was worried about the effect it could have on my unborn child. However, once I reached the 20-week mark and realised that the virus isn't going away anytime soon, I knew I had to do my own research and make up my own mind.

"I realised there was a lot of scare-mongering and click-bait out there that was unsubstantiated with facts or research. I was reassured by the advice of health professionals and available research and took the decision to get vaccinated as I knew it would provide the best possible defence for me and my unborn child.

"I hope to breastfeed again so either way my baby and I are going to be physically connected for some time and I need be to be as fit and healthy as I can be to do this. 

"The vaccination itself was painless. A doctor at the vaccine centre took me to one side and answered any questions I had. I had a sore arm for a few days but no other side effects."

The NHS says anyone who wishes to take the vaccine can book online or call 119 to get an appointment.

There are also walk-in clinics in Oxfordshire which can be taken advantage of. Details can be found on Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group's website.