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It’s scandalous so few pregnant women in the UK are vaccinated against Covid | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

It’s the wise thing to do for mother and child, yet official advice has been insufficient and mixed

It is coming up to a year since the first mRNA vaccines were approved for use against Covid-19, and almost seven months since they were approved for expectant mothers. The initial government advice was was that they should hold off getting a jab, but since more data has become available, medical experts have been encouraging women to get vaccinated. But there has been no big government awareness campaign, despite pregnant women being identified as a vulnerable group. I knew the proportion of fully vaccinated pregnant women in the UK would be low, but I did not expect it to be as low as 15% (in the US, it is more than twice that, at 33.8%).

That such a small porportion of pregnant women are fully vaccinated in the UK, seven months after vaccines were approved for them, is nothing short of a scandal. And more women and their babies are at risk of dying because of it. Recent figures for England show that one in six critically ill patients are unvaccinated pregnant women with Covid. Of the 20 pregnant women requiring the highest level of life-saving care, 19 were unvaccinated and one had received one dose.

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett is a Guardian columnist and author

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