What Norfolk women think about having Covid jabs during pregnancy

Portrait of young pregnant woman. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

England's chief midwife is encouraging expectant women to get their Covid jab. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

More accessible information and speaking to medical professionals are among the advice from Norfolk mums-to-be have sought before taking up their Covid jabs.

Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, England's chief midwife, has written to GPs and midwives on Friday to encourage women to take up their jab, following research saying 99pc of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid have not been vaccinated. 

Public Health England said though uncommon, severe illness due to Covid-19 is more likely in later pregnancy. Pregnant women who do get symptomatic Covid-19 infection are two to three times more likely to give birth to their baby prematurely.

Jodie Wilkinson, who gave birth to Harry seven weeks ago, had both her jabs in the run up to his birth.

Jodie Wilkinson, who gave birth to Harry seven weeks ago, had both her jabs in the run up to his birth. - Credit: Jodie Wilkinson

Jodie Wilkinson, from Norwich, went for her first jab at 25 weeks because she was classed as clinically vulnerable.

Baby Harry was born seven weeks ago after his parents spent two years trying to conceive him, a decision that Mrs Wilkinson said she had to factor in before getting the jab and that she felt many women had been left scared to get vaccinated. 

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She said: "At my first jab, everyone at the vaccine centre at the time were unsure whether to let me have it, which did not put me at ease. Even the person hesitated before putting it in my arm and left the room to check.

"But I’d spoken to my midwife and got all the facts and decided to have it. I wanted to be protected as soon as possible as it could have been really bad if I caught Covid.

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"I was worried at my first one. You have to trust the medical professionals are telling you, if they are encouraging you, you have to trust in them. They are going to care for you along the way. 

"I had my second dose at 37 weeks, which was much smoother. No one questioned it or seemed worried. Baby is now seven weeks and doing great." 

Pregnant women have been offered vaccines since mid-April following changes to recommendations by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). 

Figures from Public Health England show that 51,724 pregnant women in England have received at least one dose, and 20,648 women having both.

Women who are planning pregnancy, are in the immediate postpartum period, or are breastfeeding can be vaccinated with any vaccine, depending on their age and clinical risk group.

Laura Palmer, who is 28 weeks pregnant will have her second Covid jab this weekend.

Laura Palmer, who is 28 weeks pregnant will have her second Covid jab this weekend. - Credit: Esther Wild - www.estherwild.com

Laura Palmer, from Hingham, is 28 weeks pregnant and is about to have her second jab, and said it has been difficult for women to easily access information to make the decision themselves. 

The teacher was keen to have the vaccine due to the risk of Covid in schools but found out she was pregnant when guidance advised pregnant women not to have the jab. 

The 26-year-old teacher said: "For me it was not an easy decision but one that I came to quite quickly. 

"I wanted to have it but with that advice in place, it was not really a conversation about having it.

"There wasn't any information why I should so I would wait for it and have it when the baby was born, when the advice changed I was keen to look into it."

Mrs Palmer said the work of the Instagram account Pregnant Then Screwed speaking to experts to provide information, that helped her with her decision.

She chose to go to a walk-in centre to have the Moderna jab, which is recommended alongside Pfizer, for pregnant women.

She added women were not making their decisions "with no thought" and that there needed to be information made available rather than women being left to read scientific studies. 

The decision to not have the vaccine was a tough decision made by Emily Cade, who is currently 33 weeks pregnant because her baby will require open heart surgery when it is born.

She said: "If I get Covid then I would potentially need to have my baby earlier, which would not be ideal as she needs to be a good weight for her surgery.

"But I've decided against it and will isolate at home until my c section date. For me the protection provided by one jab is not enough of a gain to outweigh my fears of the unknown long term effects on my baby. Each to their own but for me this was the right choice."

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