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Pregnant women at risk from NHS workers’ mixed messages over safety of jab

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Pregnant women are being advised by some health professionals not to have the Covid vaccine despite an edict from the NHS that they should encourage them to get the jab. One in six of the most critically ill Covid patients requiring life-saving care are unvaccinated pregnant women, figures released last week show.

Yet messages sent to the Vaccines and Pregnancy helpline, launched on 20 August to help pregnant women navigate information about the vaccine, suggest that some midwives are advising against the jab.

One said: “I was initially keen to have the vaccine and then advised by a midwife not to have it.” Another wrote: “I had my first dose before I knew I was pregnant. Now I’m pregnant I’ve been told I’m not allowed my second.” Another reported: “I’ve been advised by midwives not to get the vaccine due to the impact on ovulation and menstruation.”

The helpline was set up by the organisation Full Fact in partnership with the campaign group Pregnant Then Screwed. Many of those contacting it complained of conflicting advice while others were pushed from pillar to post. One said: “I’m pregnant and really confused about getting the vaccine. I’ve spoken to my health visitor, who said speak to your GP, the GP said speak to your midwife, and the midwife said they can’t advise me.”

Full Fact’s deputy editor, Claire Milne, said the helpline was established to counter misinformation about the vaccine. She explained: “It’s not right so many pregnant women have been left scared for their safety and that of their unborn children.

“Messaging around the safety of the vaccines in pregnancy has been, at times, confused. It’s vital that up-to-date information is available – especially when speaking with health professionals.”

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Source: The Guardian, 17 October 2021

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