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LONDON, Nov. 25 (Reuters) – COVID-19 vaccination is safe for pregnant women and not associated with higher complications, data released Thursday by the UK Health Security Agency shows as officials urged pregnant women to to accept the offer of shots.
The real-world data from Britain’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out supports other studies around the world that the vaccines can be safely administered at any stage of pregnancy, the UKHSA said.
It found that there were no substantial differences in the number of stillbirths, the number of births of low birth weight babies, and the proportion of preterm births between vaccinated and unvaccinated women.
Officials said the data was particularly reassuring, given that the first pregnant women to be offered the vaccine were those with underlying health conditions who were expected to be at higher risk of complications.
“Any pregnant woman who has not yet been vaccinated should rest assured that getting the shot will help prevent the serious consequences of contracting COVID-19 during pregnancy,” said Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at UKHSA.
The UKHSA data showed that vaccinated women had a stillbirth rate of 3.35 per 1,000, slightly lower than the rate of 3.60 per 1,000 in unvaccinated women.
The proportion of women who gave birth prematurely was 6.51% for vaccinated people, slightly higher than 5.99% for unvaccinated women.
The government is calling on pregnant women who have not yet been vaccinated to be vaccinated.
The health ministry said catching COVID-19 poses much greater risks than having the vaccine, adding that only 22% of women who gave birth in August were vaccinated.
It said 98% of pregnant women hospitalized with symptomatic COVID-19 had not been vaccinated and vaccine use was lower in deprived areas and in some minority groups.
Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Angus MacSwan
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