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Sutherland MSP Maree Todd urges pregnant women to get vaccinated

By Niall Harkiss

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Pregnant women can attend a local drop-in clinic, book an appointment online or call 0800 030 8013.
Pregnant women can attend a local drop-in clinic, book an appointment online or call 0800 030 8013.

Public health minister Maree Todd has joined Professor Nicola Steedman in repeating a call to encourage all expectant mothers to get vaccinated.

Their comments follow the publication of a national study which shows evidence of a link between Covid-19 and complications during pregnancy.

The COPS (Covid-19 in Pregnancy) study, which provides population-based information on the incidence and outcomes of Covid-19 infection and Covid-19 vaccination in pregnancy, has published research which shows women who have Covid-19 towards the end of their pregnancy are more vulnerable to birth-related complications. The report also indicated that the majority of complications, which also include Covid-related critical care admissions, occurred in unvaccinated women.

Deputy chief medical officer Professor Nicola Steedman said: “The findings of this new study showing that preterm births, stillbirths and newborn deaths are more common among women who have the virus 28 days, or less, before their delivery date are very concerning.

“This adds to recent data in Scotland that indicates almost all (98%) of pregnant women admitted to intensive care units with coronavirus with symptoms were unvaccinated.

“The Covid-19 vaccine is strongly recommended during pregnancy – it is the best way to protect pregnant women and their babies against these risks. The vaccine can be given at any stage during pregnancy and it is important that pregnant women get it as soon as possible

“Previous data reported by Public Health Scotland, The Scottish Intensive Care Society Audit Group (SIGSAG), UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS) and MBRRACE led to updated JCVI advice to prioritise pregnant women for vaccination recognising the increased vulnerability they have to severe illness should they get infected. I would urge all expectant mothers to have a first, second or booster vaccine dose as appropriate in order to better protect yourself and your baby.

“As the advice has strengthened our Chief Medical Officer wrote to all NHS Chief Executives and Medical Directors underlining the importance of promoting vaccination in pregnancy and again in December following the change in JCVI advice underlining the importance of promoting vaccination in pregnancy and encouraging them to provide vaccine advice in antenatal settings.

“Pregnant women and those considering pregnancy who want more information should look at the wealth of information on NHS Inform and should speak to their clinician if they have any further questions.”

Minister for Public Health, Women's Health and Sport, Maree Todd
Minister for Public Health, Women's Health and Sport, Maree Todd

Minister for public health, women's health and sport, Maree Todd added: “These worrying findings highlight how important it is for pregnant women or those thinking of getting pregnant to have access to trusted information on the risks of Covid-19 during pregnancy and how they can get vaccinated to protect themselves and their baby.

“It remains a key priority to ensure all pregnant women are armed with the most up-to-date information. As such Public Health Scotland have developed a leaflet setting out important information about the Covid-19 vaccination and pregnancy, including information on fertility and breastfeeding. All health boards have copies of this leaflet to distribute to pregnant women in their care, in addition to the information on Public Health Scotland’s website and information from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

“Our health professionals across the country have access to learning resources about Covid vaccination in pregnancy which are continually reviewed and updated. We also have bespoke vaccination teams present in many maternity units to provide on the spot vaccination.

“Since July, we have delivered marketing campaigns via post, radio, TV and online, addressing vaccine hesitant audiences with messaging for pregnant women with further media activity planned to address the low uptake of the vaccine amongst pregnant women.

“Pregnant women or those thinking of getting pregnant can attend a local drop-in clinic, book an appointment via the online portal or by phoning 0800 030 8013. If you have any questions about the risks and benefits of vaccination you should discuss these with your clinician.”

More information and details on getting the vaccine is available at www.nhsinform.scot/covid19vaccinepregnancy

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