Vaccination clinic for women worried about the jab

26/7/21

Women in Bolton who are pregnant, thinking about having a baby or have just had a child and are breastfeeding are encouraged to attend a special clinic to discuss having the Covid-19 vaccination.

A dedicated women-only clinic will take place on Monday, August 2, between 2pm and 8pm, at the Maternity Community Hub, based at Bolton Council of Mosques (BCoM), Vicarage Street, BL3 5LE.

The clinic is open to all women in Bolton over the age of 18 wishing to get their first or second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive are specifically urged to go along to discuss any concerns they may have.

Current guidance states that pregnant women can get the vaccine, at any stage in their pregnancy. They are not more likely to catch Covid-19 but, if they do, they are more likely to be admitted to hospital. There is also an increased risk of giving birth prematurely if they contract Covid-19 in the third trimester of their pregnancy and the risk of stillbirth is double if seriously ill at the time of giving birth.

There is no scientific evidence that vaccination affects fertility, so anyone trying or hoping to conceive can safely get the vaccine. Similarly, new mums can also get vaccinated without the need to stop breastfeeding.

Dr Helen Wall, senior responsible officer for the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Bolton, and clinical director of commissioning at Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “People who know me know that I am passionate about women’s health and the vaccination programme in equal measures. I fully support a woman’s choice about what to do with her body, especially when pregnant, but this has to be an informed choice.

“Sadly, there is still a lot of misinformation circulating that could affect their choice to have the vaccine or not, and it’s my job to ensure they have the facts so they can make the correct decision for themselves.

“The risk of a pregnant woman catching Covid is no greater than anyone else but the risk of them becoming seriously ill and passing increased risks onto their baby is heightened because they are pregnant. They are more protected if vaccinated – that is a fact. I want to protect these women as much as I can, so I would encourage anyone who is pregnant or considering getting pregnant now or in the future to discuss their concerns with us at this special women-only clinic.”

New mum Gemma Wilkinson (38) had her first vaccination at Essa Academy at the height of the Delta Variant, while heavily pregnant. She’s since given birth to a healthy little girl, Emily and had her second dose a few weeks ago while breastfeeding.

She said: "I decided to have it done at this stage of pregnancy as the Covid rate in Bolton was rapidly increasing. Having seen the impact Covid can have, I wanted to protect myself and my baby as much as possible. When I attended the appointment, I spoke to the doctor as I waited in the queue, who answered any questions and any concerns I had. After both of the vaccines I had a sore arm but no other side effects.

“While we have this opportunity to have the Covid vaccination I would encourage other pregnant ladies or those who are breastfeeding to speak to a healthcare professional if they have any concerns."

The dedicated clinic will be run by female staff, and healthcare professionals who can speak different languages will be on hand for anyone whose first language isn’t English.

Kath Arrowsmith, lead nurse at Bolton GP Federation said: “I urge all pregnant women, breast feeding mums and those trying for a baby, to come to this special clinic. There will be nurses, midwives and doctors available to speak to on the day, they will be more than happy to discuss any concerns you may have surrounding the Covid-19 vaccination. Please come along, meet the team, have a chat and be supported in making an informed decision regarding the vaccine.”

Natasha Macdonald, director of midwifery and divisional nurse director for the family care division at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re really pleased that we’ve been able to work with our partners to offer women in Bolton the opportunity to come along and ask questions about the Covid vaccine and how this might affect them, their fertility, and their baby.

“By providing a space where women feel comfortable, and where they are able to speak to health professionals in their own language, we can ensure that they have all the facts to allow them to make a fully informed decision, and receive the vaccine at the same time if they choose to do so.”

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