Doctors are also beginning to report a certain side effect of Covid during pregnancy, which they call Covid chorioamnionitis. Chorioamnionitis is inflammation of the placenta, usually caused by an infectious agent, and associated with stillbirth. Even more worryingly, cases do not appear in patients with the most severe presentations of Covid – but rather in patients with mild to moderate cases.
As of July 2021, more than 99 per cent of pregnant women admitted to hospitals in the UK with Covid-19 symptoms had not been vaccinated. But the poor absorption of the vaccine cannot be blamed solely on the spread of misinformation. In fact, some of them can be summed up in confused public health messages. Public health authorities in different parts of the world have repeatedly changed course: firstly, vaccines were not offered to pregnant women. Then they can choose to receive the vaccination, but are not actively recommended for it. It took a full eight months after the vaccines first became available for them to be recommended for pregnant women in the United States.
The inconsistency has left pregnant women unsure of who to listen to or what the current advice is. (The term “pregnant people” includes trans and non-binary parents.) “What we haven’t been good at is making sure that every time the message changes, everyone gets the memo,” says Vicki Malley, an immunologist who studies pregnancy at Imperial College London. . It doesn’t matter if the public health authority updates its guidance – if news of the change doesn’t reach the target audience, it won’t help.
A survey conducted by Shah’s company, Maven Clinic, asked 500 pregnant women nationally represented in the United States why they were not vaccinated. More than 60 percent simply did not know that vaccination is recommended during pregnancy. (As of today, the webpage on the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s general evaluation of the Pfizer vaccine currently warns that “no sufficient guarantees can be given for the safe use of the vaccine in pregnant women at present” and that breastfeeding women should also not be vaccinated – both incorrect.)
A mention cites Canada as a country that has handled the matter better: the authorities clearly say no policy changes, and as a result, the percentage of fully fertilized pregnant women is much higher compared to the US and UK. In the province of Ontario, for example, nearly 60 percent of pregnant women in September received at least one dose.
While health authorities were keeping their silence, pregnant women were asked to turn to trusted experts instead: midwives, primary care providers and obstetricians. But the messages they received were mixed. In a Maven Clinic survey, a third of survey respondents said that medical providers were advised not to receive the vaccine. Another survey of pregnant women in the UK by Pregnant Then Screwed, a maternity campaign charity, found that more than 40 per cent said they were forced to question the safety of the vaccine by health professionals.