Pregnant and breastfeeding women across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) are being urged to come forward for their free COVID-19 vaccination to protect them and their baby.
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.
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.
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It is extremely 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 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."
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has updated its guidance about the vaccine and pregnancy.
On its website women can find questions and answers and links to more information to help make informed decisions about vaccination in pregnancy.
Vaccination clinics at the large vaccination centres and pharmacies are available for walk-in appointments across Luton, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, 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.