Doctors urge pregnant women to get Covid vaccine after rise in intensive care admissions

  • Video report by ITV Meridian's Christine Alsford

Doctors in the South are urging more pregnant women to get Covid vaccinations after concerns about the numbers being admitted to hospital, with some ending up in intensive care.

Only one pregnant women in every 12 has opted to take the vaccine, despite medical experts who have said coronavirus can cause serious complications and premature births.

Many women are hesitant after months of confused messaging and are worried about possible long term risks.

Jodie Whitworth, who is nearly seven months pregnant, had her Covid jabs Credit: ITV Meridian

Jodie Whitworth from Southampton, who is nearly seven months pregnant, did lots of research before deciding to have her Covid jabs.

Jodie said she found that not having the vaccinations posed a much greater risk.

She said: "For me it came down to the fact that we wanted to look after the baby and the best way to look after her is looking after me so that was our deciding factor.

"I've had both of the jabs now and I do feel a lot more reassured and happy. I feel better in public. I am not going out a lot but when I do, I feel much happier now lots of people are not wearing masks."

  • Jodie Whitworth:

Misinformation about an increased risk of miscarriage from the vaccine and other unsubstantiated claims, have been circulating unchallenged online for months.

Joeli Brierley, Founder, Pregnant Then Screwed said: "We know that if you become infected with Covid-19 and you are pregnant, you are more likely to end up in ICU, your baby is twice as likely to be stillborn and your baby is three times as likely to be born prematurely. There are some serious risks here." 

  • Joeli Brierley, Founder, Pregnant Then Screwed:

Until April, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation was not routinely recommending Covid vaccinations for pregnant women but that has now changed. 

Latest data shows more than 130,000 pregnant women in America have received a Covid vaccine with no major safety concerns. 

One of the leading consultants from Southampton's maternity hospital has urged women to listen carefully to the experts. 

Dr Jo Mountfield, Vice President, Royal College of Obstetricians said the biggest hesitancy for women is anxiety around thinking the vaccine could potentially hurt their baby.

She said: "This is a dead vaccine so it cannot give you the disease and it cannot give your baby the disease and it does not cross the placenta."

"In fact, if you have the vaccine and develop antibodies, they do cross the placenta and give your baby some protection as well."

Clinical trials, including a new study being launched at Southampton, are monitoring the long term effects on vaccinated mothers and their babies. Experts have said there are currently no safety concerns regarding the impact of the vaccine on babies.

Pregnant women are being offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines wherever possible.

Jodie Whitworth says she would encourage more women to get the jab and be protected like her.  

She said: "All the medical staff recommended it and they are there to look after me and they are there to look after the baby. I trust them to deliver my baby, so I trust them with the message around the jab."

The experts are encouraging patients make informed choices based on medical facts and not social media posts, conspiracy theories or speculation.