COVID-19 social media banner Image Supplied by BLMK CCG

Pregnant and breast-feeding women across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes are being urged to come forward for their free COVID-19 vaccination to protect them and their baby.

Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (BLMK CCG) said COVID-19 infection in pregnancy carries a significant risk of hospital admission and a higher risk of severe illness than for the non-pregnant population and a higher risk of preterm birth.

Adding that the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG) and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) now recommend vaccination as one of the best defences against severe infection.

It’s easy for pregnant women who have yet to be vaccinated to grab a jab; they can book online or turn up at one of the many walk-in clinics without an appointment. Details of these clinics are listed on the BLMK CCG website.

Jayne Pigott, BLMK public health midwife, said:

“Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect you and your baby against COVID-19. It really is that simple.

“We are seeing pregnant women with the virus that have not been jabbed being admitted to hospitals and so we are really encouraging more ladies to be vaccinated to prevent this.

“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.

“Please take the chance to book now or visit a walk-in centre where you do not need an appointment. You can have the vaccine at any stage of your pregnancy and you should not worry about the vaccine giving you COVID as it does not contain any live virus.

“If you have questions, talk to your midwife, talk to your obstetrician, talk to your GP. Get the information you need to help make your own decision and get your vaccine. Ideally, we would like you to have the two doses before you give birth so timing is key.”

On the RCOG website women can find questions and answers and links to more information to help make informed decisions about vaccination in pregnancy.

The latest PHE data shows that 62,311 women who reported they were pregnant or could be pregnant at the time of receiving the vaccine, have come forward and received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccination, up to 31 July.

This is an increase of 10,587 from 51,724 as of 18 July. Of the latest total, 43,737 have received their second dose.

Vaccination clinics at the large vaccination centres and pharmacies are available for walk-in appointments across the BLMK area and can be found on the BLMK website.

Don’t forget, you don’t need an appointment or an NHS number just drop-in at the times advertised on the website.