More than 99 per cent of pregnant women taken to hospital with Covid-19 are unvaccinated

30 July 2021, 09:19 | Updated: 30 July 2021, 10:12

More than 99% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 are unvaccinated
More than 99% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 are unvaccinated. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Pregnant women are being urged to get vaccinated after a worrying rise in hospital admissions, with around 200 mums-to-be admitted in the last week.

Mums-to-be are at greater risk from the Delta variant - with one in ten admissions needing intensive care - research from the University of Oxford shows.

Figures suggest one in five pregnant women give birth prematurely after contracting the virus.

Researchers described the findings as "concerning" but said vaccinations are able to offer effective protection from the risk of becoming severely ill from Covid-19.

In the study, published in an online server called medRxiv, scientists said there are far fewer numbers from vaccinated groups in hospital compared with those who have not had the jab.

Chief investigator of the study, Marian Knight, professor of maternal and child population health at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, said: "It is extremely good news that so few vaccinated pregnant women have been admitted to hospital with Covid-19.

"However, it is very concerning that admissions of pregnant women to hospital with Covid-19 are increasing and that pregnant women appear to be more severely affected by the Delta variant of the disease.

"Around 200 pregnant women were admitted to hospital with Covid-19 last week.

"I cannot emphasise more strongly how important it is for pregnant women to get vaccinated in order to protect both them and their baby."

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The study found that 3,371 pregnant women were admitted to hospital with symptoms of the disease from the beginning of the pandemic up to July 11 2021.

Researchers looked at the data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS), discovering that the severity of women's illness appeared to have become worse over the course of the pandemic.

During the first wave, 24% of women were admitted having moderate or severe disease, compared with 36% with the Alpha variant and 45% with the Delta variant.

Within their research, scientists also looked at the vaccination data collected since February 1 this year and found that of the 742 women admitted since that date, only four have received a single dose of vaccine and none had received both doses.

Read more: Covid vaccine and pregnancy: Can you have the coronavirus vaccine when pregnant?

Read more: 'Are you pregnant?' button added to NHS Covid vaccine booking site

"Vaccines save lives, and this is another stark reminder that the Covid-19 jab can keep you, your baby and your loved ones safe and out of hospital," said England's chief midwife Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent.

That warning was repeated by Dr Edward Morris, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

"Every day our members are seeing very sick pregnant women with Covid-19 in hospital and the majority are unvaccinated," he said.

"We want to reassure pregnant women that Covid-19 vaccines are the safest and best way to protect you and your baby from severe illness and premature birth."