Saturday, October 16, 2021
HomeHealthOne in five of most critically-ill Covid patients are unvaccinated pregnant women,...

One in five of most critically-ill Covid patients are unvaccinated pregnant women, NHS says

Unvaccinated pregnant women accounted for nearly a fifth of the most severely ill coronavirus patients in England in recent months, according to health officials.

Between July and September, 17 per cent of Covid-19 patients who required a special lung bypass machine while in intensive care were mothers-to-be who had not received their first vaccine dose, NHS England said.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is used when a patient’s lungs are so damaged by Covid-19 that a ventilator cannot maintain oxygen levels.

While just six per cent of the women aged 16 to 49 who needed ECMO at the start of the pandemic were pregnant, nearly a third of women among that age group who required the lung bypass in recent months were unvaccinated mothers-to-be.

The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) called the statistics a “damning indictment of the lack of attention given to this vulnerable group as restrictions have eased”.

“We’ve been extremely disappointed to hear of so much misinformation and confusion about the vaccination programme and so little focus on what’s needed to keep vulnerable groups safe as restrictions have eased,” said the NCT’s director of impact and engagement, Sarah McMullen.

Health secretary Sajid Javid called the figures “desperately sad”, while England’s chief midwife Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent said it was “another stark reminder that the Covid-19 jab can keep you, your baby and your loved ones safe and out of hospital”.

Data from more than 100,000 Covid vaccinations during pregnancy in England and Scotland – and a further 160,000 in the United States – show there has been no subsequent harm to the foetus or infant, NHS England said.

Meanwhile, the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Dr Edward Morris, said “disproportionate” number of unvaccinated pregnant women in intensive care shows there is a “significant risk of severe illness from Covid-19 in pregnancy”.

The association is “urgently calling for all pregnant women to come forward for their vaccinations”.

Mother-to-be Claire Bromley was admitted to her local hospital in Kent with breathing difficulties just a few days after testing positive for the virus, and was then put on a ventilator while in a medically induced coma.

When the 33-year-old’s condition deteriorated, medics thought she might need an emergency C-section just 26 weeks into her pregnancy, and she was transferred to another hospital in London.

After nearly a month in hospital, she was allowed home in early August and is now recovering with her husband and their unborn child, who is doing well.

“I completely understand the hesitation not to get vaccinated when you are growing a child inside you, and, after experiencing two miscarriages before the pandemic, the fear of being pregnant again with the worry of Covid was sending my anxiety through the roof,” Ms Bromley said.

“But, after what happened, I can honestly say that the risk of not having the Covid vaccine far outweighs any doubts about having it.”

UK news in pictures

Show all 50

1/50UK news in pictures

UK news in pictures

10 October 2021

A young girl is helped by a Border Force officer as a group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, following a small boat incident in the Channel.

PA

UK news in pictures

9 October 2021

People walk past a life-size sculpture of British singer John Lennon entitled “Imagine”, by sculptor Lawrence Holofcener, displayed to mark what would have been the 81st birthday for the former member of the Beatles in Carnaby Street

Reuters

UK news in pictures

8 October 2021

WW II veteran, 96-year-old Lorna Cockayne, who served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS), popularly and officially known as the Wrens, as a Bletchley Park codebreaker, poses for a photograph with the Legion d’honneur after receiving it during a ceremony at the Pear at Parley in Ferndown, Bournemouth

PA

UK news in pictures

7 October 2021

British comedian Jo Brand poses with cut-out silhouettes representing women outside the Metropolitan Police headquarters New Scotland Yard, to highlight violence against women by male police officers or former police officers

AFP via Getty

UK news in pictures

6 October 2021

A protester, wearing a mask of Johnson, holds a sign reading ‘Question it all’ on the final day of the Tory conference

Getty

UK news in pictures

5 October 2021

Members of ‘Insulate Britain’ outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, before a hearing over the injunction banning the environmental activists from blocking the M25

PA

UK news in pictures

4 October 2021

A delegate passes a street cleaner on the second day of the annual Conservative Party Conference being held at the Manchester Central convention centre

AFP via Getty

UK news in pictures

3 October 2021

Margaret Thatcher-themed mugs for sale at the annual Conservative Party conference in Manchester

EPA

UK news in pictures

2 October 2021

A couple make their way through a flooded underpass in Bristol as a yellow weather warning for rain and wind is issued for parts of the UK

Tom Wren/SWNS

UK news in pictures

1 October 2021

A driver talks to members of the media after passing his HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) driving test at National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London

AFP via Getty Images

UK news in pictures

30 September 2021

The centrepiece One Thousand Springs by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota is seen ahead of the beginning of the Japan Festival, a celebration of the country’s plants, art and culture running from 2-31 October, at Kew Gardens in London

PA

UK news in pictures

29 September 2021

The family of Betty Campbell unveil the bronze sculpture of her during the unveiling of the statue in Central Square, Cardiff, of Betty Campbell, Wales’ first black headteacher

PA

UK news in pictures

28 September 2021

A sign referring to the lack of fuel is placed at the entrance to a petrol station in London

AP

UK news in pictures

27 September 2021

Police officers detain a protester from Insulate Britain occupying a roundabout leading from the M25 motorway to Heathrow Airport in London

PA

UK news in pictures

26 September 2021

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer watches the Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur match at The Font pub in Brighton

PA

UK news in pictures

25 September 2021

Scottish pro-independence supporters hold a march and rally outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland

Getty Images

UK news in pictures

24 September 2021

Police officers remove two protesters from the top of a tanker, as Insulate Britain block the A20 in Kent, which provides access to the Port of Dover in Kent. The environmental activists have moved location after been banned from campaigning on the M25 motorway in London

PA

UK news in pictures

23 September 2021

Gabriella, the seven year old daughter of imprisoned British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, joins in a game on a giant snakes and ladders board in Parliament Square, to show the “ups and downs” of her mother’s case to mark the 2,000 days she has been detained in Iran

AP

UK news in pictures

22 September 2021

A new sign hangs on the Millicent Fawcett statue after it was altered by ‘CrackTheCrises’ coalition activists to highlight the climate crisis as a feminist struggle in Parliament Square in London

EPA

UK news in pictures

21 September 2021

Gabriella Diment prepares a monumental bronze patinated fibreglass wall sculpture depicting household cavalry soldiers on horseback which is expected to be sold for £12,000-18,000 when it goes up for auction at Summers Place Auctions in Billinghurst, Kent

PA

UK news in pictures

20 September 2021

Florist Judith Blacklock puts the finishing touches to a floral carousel installation in Halkin Arcade, which she has designed with Neill Strain for the Belgravia in Bloom festival, running from September 20-26, in London

PA

UK news in pictures

19 September 2021

Bubbles surround Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo before the match against West Ham at London Stadium

Action Images/Reuters

UK news in pictures

18 September 2021

Children take part in the Settrington Cup Pedal Car Race as motoring enthusiasts attend the Goodwood Revival, a three-day historic car racing festival in Goodwood, Chichester,

Reuters

UK news in pictures

17 September 2021

Hugo, 7, from London rides past a 4×7 metre rainbow arch, made entirely of recycled aluminium cans, which has been installed by recycling initiative ‘Every Can Counts’, in partnership with The City of London Corporation in front of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, to encourage members of the public to recycle their drinks cans ahead of recycling week, which starts on 20 September

PA

UK news in pictures

16 September 2021

Sheikeh MOhammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, leader of Abu Dhabi, leaves Downing Street after meeting with Boris Johnson

PA

UK news in pictures

15 September 2021

Children pose by ice sculptures depicting people collecting water by charity Water Aid to show the fragility of water and the threat posed by climate change in London

AFP/Getty

UK news in pictures

14 September 2021

Heavy rain covers the A149 near Kings Lynn in Norfolk

PA

UK news in pictures

13 September 2021

Luke Jerram’s ‘Museum of the Moon’ at Durham Cathedral

PA

UK news in pictures

12 September 2021

Inspirational young fundraiser Tobias Weller crosses the finish line, near his home in Sheffield, as he completes his latest epic feat where he swam and triked his way to the end of his “awesome” year-long Ironman Challenge. This is the third challenge Tobias, who has cerebral palsy and autism, has completed, raising more than £150,000 for his school and Sheffield Children Hospital’s charity

PA

UK news in pictures

11 September 2021

British player Emma Raducanu, holds up the US Open championship trophy winning the women’s singles final of the US Open in New York

AP

UK news in pictures

10 September 2021

People paddle board during a misty morning in Ullswater, the second largest lake in the Lake District, Cumbria

PA

UK news in pictures

9 September 2021

Troops from Wiltshire based 4 Armoured Close Support Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers during final inspection at Wellington Barracks in London, ahead of providing troops for the Queen’s Guard

PA

UK news in pictures

8 September 2021

Workers cross London Bridge during the morning rush hour in London

Reuters

UK news in pictures

Mixing it up: Painting it up press view in London

A gallery employee poses for photographers next to a painting entitled “Prairie” by British artist, Louise Giovanelli during the exhibition ‘Mixing it up: Painting it up’ at the Hayward Gallery in London

EPA

UK news in pictures

6 September 2021

Traders in the Ring at the London Metal Exchange, in the City of London, after open-outcry trading returned for the first time since March 2020, when the Ring was temporarily closed due to the pandemic

PA

UK news in pictures

5 September 2021

People enjoy the warm weather on Sandbanks beach, Poole

PA

UK news in pictures

4 September 2021

Demonstrators from Animal Rebellion and Nature Rebellion protest in Trafalgar Square in London.

PA

UK news in pictures

3 September 2021

South Africa’s Ntando Mahlangu (centre) wins the Men’s 200 metres T61 Final ahead of second placed Great Britain’s Richard Whitehead at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

PA

UK news in pictures

2 September 2021

A young common seal on the beach at Horsey Gap in Norfolk, as hundreds of pregnant grey seals come ashore ready for the start of the pupping season.

PA

UK news in pictures

1 September 2021

Goldfinches fighting over food in a garden in Strensham, Worcestershire

PA

UK news in pictures

31 August 2021

Gold Medallist Sarah Storey of Britain celebrates on the podium

Reuters

UK news in pictures

30 August 2021

Extinction Rebellion protesters hold a a tea party on Tower Bridge in London

EPA

UK news in pictures

29 August 2021

A police office tussles with a demonstrator on Cromwell Road outside the Natural History Museum during a protest by members of Extinction Rebellion in London

PA

UK news in pictures

28 August 2021

Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade walk to the air terminal after disembarking a Royal Airforce Voyager aircraft at Brize Norton, Oxfordshire

POOL/AFP/Getty

UK news in pictures

27 August 2021

Fabio Quartararo crashes during a MotoGP practice session at the British Grand Prix, Silverstone Circuit

Action Images via Reuters

UK news in pictures

26 August 2021

An Extinction Rebellion activist holds a placard in a fountain surrounded by police officers, during a protest next to Buckingham Palace in London

Reuters

UK news in pictures

25 August 2021

Gold Medallist Great Britain’s cyclist, Sarah Storey, celebrates after winning the Women’s C5 3000m Individual Pursuit Final at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. It was her 15th Paralympic gold

Reuters

UK news in pictures

24 August 2021

A demonstrator dressed as bee during a protest by members of Extinction Rebellion on Whitehall, in central London

PA

UK news in pictures

23 August 2021

Former interpreters for the British forces in Afghanistan demonstrate outside the Home Office in central London

AFP/Getty

UK news in pictures

22 August 2021

Police officers form a line in front of the entrance to the Guildhall, London, where protesters have climbed onto a ledge above the entrance during an Extinction Rebellion stage a protest

PA

More than 81,000 pregnant women have received the first dose of a Covid vaccine, Public Health England data shows, and some 65,000 have received their second dose, according to NHS England.

Just over 683,000 births were registered in England last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

“There is robust evidence showing that the vaccine is the most effective way to protect both mother and baby against the possibility of severe illness from Covid-19,” said Dr Morris, of the RCOG.

“We do understand women’s concerns about having the vaccine in pregnancy, and we want to reassure women that there is no link between having the vaccine and an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, or stillbirth,” he said.

England’s chief midwife added: “You can receive vaccination at any time in pregnancy, but the risks that unvaccinated pregnant women face of becoming severely unwell if they catch Covid-19 show exactly why we advise you to do so as soon as possible.”

Since the vaccine rollout began last year, almost every person who has received ECMO for coronavirus in the UK has been unvaccinated, according to NHS data.

Additional reporting by PA

RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular

Most Recent