Almost a fifth of the most critically ill Covid patients in England are pregnant and unvaccinated, NHS England has said.
In a statement published today, the NHS said that since July, one in five Covid patients receiving treatment via a lung-bypass machine were expectant mums who have not had their first coronavirus jab.
In addition, nearly a third (32%) of all women between 16- and 49-years-old in intensive care and receiving Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) are pregnant.
This marked an increase from just 6% at the start of the pandemic.
The latest data from Public Health England (PHE) indicates that more than 81,000 pregnant people have received a first dose, while around 65,000 have had their second dose.
NHSE added that since the vaccine programme began last year, ‘almost every person’ receiving ECMO for Covid has been unvaccinated.
Dr Edward Morris, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, called for ‘all pregnant women to come forward for their vaccinations’.
He added: ‘The disproportionate number of unvaccinated pregnant women in intensive care demonstrates that there is a significant risk of severe illness from Covid-19 in pregnancy.’
Meanwhile, Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, chief midwifery officer for England, said the data was a ‘stark reminder’ of the risks associated with not receiving the Covid vaccine.
‘You can receive vaccination at any time in pregnancy, but the risks that unvaccinated pregnant women face of becoming severely unwell if they catch Covid-19 show exactly why we advise you to do so as soon as possible,’ she said.
Pregnant people who were also health or care workers or in an at-risk group were first offered the vaccine in December 2020, with all pregnant people offered the vaccine from April 2021.