COVID-19 vaccine uptake in pregnant women rising but stark inequality remains

More than half of pregnant women are now double vaccinated against COVID-19 as uptake continues to rise - but significant inequality remains, NHS chiefs have warned.

Pregnant woman receives COVID-19 vaccine
(Photo: Marina Demidiuk/Getty Images)

Data for January 2022 from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) show that almost six in 10 (59.6%) pregnant women had received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

This is a significant rise in uptake from the 48.7% recorded in November 2021 and saw the total number of pregnant women who had received their first dose rise to 125,365 this January.

Over half (50.6%) had received two doses of vaccine by January, another significant rise from the 38.4% recorded three months earlier. The total number of pregnant women double vaccinated by January was 88,736.

Despite rising vaccine uptake among pregnant women, UKHSA data reveal major inequality linked to deprivation and ethnicity.

Vaccine uptake in pregnant women was was highest among white women and lowest among black women. White women were almost twice as likely as black women to have received either one or two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, the data show.

Among white women, 57.5% had received at least one dose of vaccine and 47.6% at least two doses at the time of delivery, compared with 30.5% and 21.5% respectively among black women.

COVID-19 vaccination

Among Asian women, under half had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by time of delivery between November 2021 and January 2022, with 38% double vaccinated in the same time period.

Around 44% of pregnant women of mixed ethnicity had received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine between November 2021 and January 2022, while around a third (35.6%) had been double vaccinated by time of delivery in the same period.

The vaccination coverage of women giving birth within the most deprived areas between November 2021 and January 2022 was 38.9%, around half the figure of 71.1% seen in less deprived areas.

Only 27.5% of pregnant women in areas of high deprivation had been double vaccinated between November 2021 and January 2022, less than half the proportion of pregnant women living in the least deprived areas (63%).

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