The RCM has condemned the ‘vile’ social media abuse directed at its chief executive Gill Walton after she encouraged pregnant women to receive a Covid-19 vaccination.
Ms Walton was subject to the attacks after urging expectant mums on Friday to get vaccinated against Covid. Official data released on the same day showed no pregnant women with both vaccine doses had been admitted to hospital, while only three with one dose had been admitted since May.
The RCM responded with a tweet the next day and reaffirmed Ms Walton’s advice saying: ‘We will continue to provide evidence-based advice that pregnant women can trust.’
It added: ‘We will not stand for this vile and hateful abuse and will always call it out’. The RCM said the abuse had been reported to Twitter and the police.
The midwifery body also highlighted ‘a small selection’ of the abusive comments. One read: ‘Brave saying that in public. Wonder where she’s planning to live.’
Another stated: ‘When we take our countries back from the Covid Nazis, I hope scum like this will face trial before the mob of grieving mothers get their hands on them.’
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation previously said pregnant women should not receive the Covid vaccine but changed its advice in April this year. Pregnant women should now be offered the vaccination in line with the rest of the population, it said
In the appeal to pregnant women on Friday, Ms Walton said: ‘Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect you and your baby against Covid-19. It really is that simple.
‘Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women worldwide have been vaccinated, safely and effectively protecting themselves against Covid and dramatically reducing their risk of serious illness or harm to their baby,’ she added. `
England’s chief midwifery officer Professor Jaqueline Dunkley-Bent said: ‘We need everyone to come forward and take up the evergreen offer of a jab, which is why I am calling on pregnant women to take action to protect themselves and their babies and on my fellow midwives to ensure they have the information they need to do so’.
Fresh concerns were also raised earlier this week about vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women, following research showing the Delta variant is more likely than previous Covid variants to cause severe illness in the patient group.
The attacks on social media also comes amid a reported rise in abuse toward healthcare workers since the Covid-19 pandemic began:
- Last month, a community children’s nurse was left ‘shaken’ after suffering ‘unprovoked’ verbal abuse from two men on the Isle of Man, police said.
- Practitioners told Nursing in Practice in January this year that incidents of abuse towards primary care nurses have been on the rise during Covid-19.
- A survey of Royal College of Midwives members in November last year found that seven out of 10 respondents had suffered abuse from women and their partners due to Covid restrictions.
- In October last year, a Nursing in Practice survey found more than a quarter of nurses have witnessed racist behaviour at work, with black, Asian and minority ethnic workers reporting a worsening situation because of Covid-19.
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