Science

Covid-19: Unvaccinated pregnant women develop more severe forms

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your baby from Covid-19, it’s that simple “, hammered the director of the Royal College of Midwives in the United Kingdom in the press release announcing the largest study made on pregnant women with Covid-19, published in preprint (not yet peer reviewed) on July 25, 2021 According to this analysis, which takes into account all pregnant women hospitalized for Covid-19 in the United Kingdom, a large proportion of these women develop moderate or severe forms of the disease. And the vaccine appears to be very protective in this population.

Almost half of pregnant women hospitalized with Delta developed severe forms

A total of 3,371 pregnant women were hospitalized with Covid-19 between March 2020 and July 11, 2021 in the United Kingdom. Just under half of them (45%) were hospitalized because of Covid-19, a proportion that increases depending on the variant: 41% for the traditional strain, 46% for Alpha and 54% for Delta. The proportion of pregnant women with severe forms of Covid-19 is also rising, from 25% for the traditional strain to 45% for Delta. And a third of those infected with Delta needed life support, compared to one in five for the traditional strain and one in four for Alpha.

The infection also had an impact on pregnancy: the proportion of premature infants (born before the 28th week of amenorrhea) was 0.7% for the traditional strain and 1.4% for Alpha. However, too few women infected with Delta had already given birth so this comparison could not be made for this variant.

The vaccine appears to protect against these serious forms

Information on vaccination was available for 742 of these women (those hospitalized after the start of vaccination) and 98% of them had not been vaccinated. None had received both doses of the vaccine and only four had received a dose. These results suggest that the vaccine is very protective against symptomatic forms of Covid-19 in pregnant women.

However, the vaccination rate remains low in this population. In England, 51,724 pregnant women have received a dose and 20,648 are fully vaccinated, representing just over 10% of the women who give birth each year in this country (643,000). In addition, 58% of the 844 pregnant women who were offered vaccination in May 2021 refused. “It is very good news to see that so few vaccinated pregnant women have been hospitalized with Covid-19. However, it is very worrying that hospitalizations of pregnant women due to Covid-19 are increasing and that they seem to be more severely affected by the Delta variant, Marian Knight, professor at the University of Oxford and author of the study, summed up in the press release. Only last week there were around 200 pregnant women hospitalized with Covid-19. I can only stress how important it is for pregnant women to be vaccinated! “

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