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The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) is urging pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine as new data shows that nearly 20% of the country’s most critically ill COVID-19 patients are pregnant women who have not yet been vaccinated.

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“Since July, one in five COVID patients receiving treatment via a special lung-bypass machine was an expectant mother who has not had her first jab,” the NHS wrote in a report published on Monday. ”

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The NHS said nearly a third of female patients aged 16 to 49 who undergo a therapy called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation – which is used for COVID-19 patients whose lungs have undergone such severe trauma that a The ventilator no longer works to maintain oxygen levels – there are uninfected pregnant women.

So far, more than 81,000 pregnant women have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in the UK, according to the NHS, but health officials are saying more is needed.

“We are urgently calling on all pregnant women to step up their vaccinations. There is strong evidence that this vaccine is the most effective way to protect both mother and baby from the potential for serious illness from COVID-19. Disproportionately The numbers of non-vaccinated pregnant women in intensive care indicate that there is a significant risk of serious illness from COVID-19 in pregnancy,” said Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Morris said, “We understand women’s concerns about being vaccinated in pregnancy, and we want to reassure women that there is no link between having the vaccine and the risk of miscarriage, premature birth or stillbirth. ”

Health officials’ immediate warning on COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant people not limited to UK

Last month, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an urgent advisory “Strongly” recommending that pregnant people and those who wish to become pregnant receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC said it “strongly recommends” COVID-19 vaccination before or during pregnancy because “the benefits of vaccination outweigh the known or potential risks.”

related: Urgent CDC advisory ‘strongly recommends’ that pregnant people get the COVID-19 vaccine

CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 12 years of age and older, including those who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are breastfeeding), who are currently trying to become pregnant, or who May become pregnant in future. The CDC said its recommendations align with those of professional medical organizations serving pregnant people.

As of October 4, there have been more than 127,000 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in pregnant people in the US, including more than 22,000 hospitalized cases and 171 deaths.

CDC notes that pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to develop COVID-19 increased risk of serious illness When compared with non-pregnant people. Critical illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, admission to an intensive care unit, mechanical ventilation or illness that results in death.

Those pregnant with COVID-19 also have an increased risk of premature birth and some data suggest an increased risk for other adverse pregnancy complications and outcomes, such as preeclampsia, coagulopathy, and stillbirth. Compared to pregnant people without COVID-19, according to the agency .

related: Agency recommends COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant people after CDC director says ‘no safety concerns’

“Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 can prevent serious illness, death, and pregnancy-related complications related to COVID-19,” the CDC wrote in its report.

The highest number of COVID-19-related deaths among pregnant people in a month of the pandemic was recorded in August. So far more than 195,000 pregnant people have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 as of October. 2, according to CDC.

This story was reported from Los Angeles. Stephanie Weaver contributed.