Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, England’s chief midwife, said the NHS England data was “another stark reminder” that the vaccine can “keep you, your baby and your loved ones safe and out of hospital”.
NHS England said data from more than 100,000 Covid vaccinations in pregnancy in England and Scotland, and a further 160,000 in the US, show there has been no subsequent harm to the foetus or infant.
Dr Edward Morris, the president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said doctors understood women’s concerns but wanted to offer reassurance that the vaccine is safe.
He said the “disproportionate” number of unvaccinated pregnant women in intensive care showed that there is a “significant risk of severe illness from Covid-19 in pregnancy”, adding: “We are urgently calling for all pregnant women to come forward for their vaccinations.
“There is robust evidence showing that the vaccine is the most effective way to protect both mother and baby against the possibility of severe illness from Covid.
“We do understand women’s concerns about having the vaccine in pregnancy, and we want to reassure women that there is no link between having the vaccine and an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, or stillbirth.”
Public Health England data show that more than 81,000 pregnant women have received their first dose of a Covid vaccine and around 65,000 have received a second dose.
Addressing mothers-to be, Ms Dunkley-Bent said: “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.”
Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, joined calls for pregnant women to have their Covid jabs, saying the latest figures were “desperately sad” and that vaccines would give “significant protection”.