PREGNANT women have been warned that 98 per cent who end up in hospital with Covid are unvaccinated.
The chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty urged mums-to-be, and those trying for a baby, to take their jab offer immediately.
At the Downing Street briefing this afternoon, he laid out some “fairly stark facts” that were causing “major concern”.
Between February 1 and September 31 during which time young and working aged women were being offered the Covid vaccines, 1,714 pregnant women were admitted to hospital with Covid.
Of them, 1,681 (98 per cent) had not been vaccinated, Prof Whitty said.
Some 235 were admitted to ICU, and 232 (over 98 per cent) had not been vaccinated.
The figures represent how well the vaccines work to prevent those who have two jabs from ending up in hospital with serious disease.
Prof Whitty warned: “These are preventable admissions to ICU, and there have been deaths.
“All the medical opinions is really clear, that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks in every area. It's the universal view among doctors, among the midwifery advisory groups, and among the scientific advisory groups.
“So can I please encourage all women who are pregnant, or wishing to become pregnant, to get their vaccine
“And I would extend that also to flu, which is also very dangerous to women who are pregnant.”
The flu vaccine is free for pregnant women, and the Covid vaccine is free for everyone.
There is no evidence to suggest the Covid vaccine affects female fertility, says the The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).
And data from more than 100,000 vaccinations in pregnancy in England and Scotland, and a further 160,000 in the US, show no subsequent harm to the foetus or infant.
However, Covid illness can threaten the health of the baby.
In pregnant women with symptoms of Covid, it is twice as likely that their baby will be born early, exposing the baby to the risk of prematurity, RCOG says.
In those who are very unwell, the risk is up to three times as high.
Most of the time, it was recommended the baby was delivered early to help the mum recover.
Meanwhile, at today's No10 press briefing, Prof Whitty revealed infections have been consistently high for several weeks.
Although there have been spikes and falls in daily Covid cases, it has remained "broadly fat for a number of weeks".
But there has not been the same stark numbers in hospitalisations and deaths, which is thanks to vaccines.
Prof Whitty said the "overwhelming majority" have taken their vaccine offer, but there are still many moreboos people who have delayed it.
It comes as “we’re beginning to see a winter respiratory effect” of other viruses impacting on the coronavirus pandemic, with new Covid surges washing over Europe.
The Prime Minister said there were "storm clouds" gathering over the continent, more recently affecting neighbours in the west.
Boris Johnson said we "cannot afford to be complacent" and urged people to get the Covid booster jab as soon as they are eligible.
The PM said: “It would be an utter tragedy if, after everything we have been through, people who had done the right thing by getting double vaccinated ended up becoming seriously ill or even losing their lives because they allowed their immunity to wane.
"If we want to control the epidemic here in the UK and if we want to avoid restrictions on our daily lives we must all get vaccinated as soon as we are eligible.”
Mr Johnson said there was nothing in the data to suggest the country needed to move to Plan B of Covid measures as many European nations deploy new restrictions.
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