A mother whose child was still born while she was hospitalized with Covid-19 encouraged people to get vaccinated to protect themselves from the “agony” of a serious illness from the virus.
Rachel, 38, of Bilston, Wolverhampton, who refused to use her last name, was so sick that she did not realize she had given birth to Jaxon’s son, 24 weeks old in August, was in a coma and was hospitalized for three and a half months after contracting the virus.
She went to get the vaccine while pregnant, but was put off by indications at this early stage of implementation that pregnant women may not have it.
She said she and her family were “devastated” by the death of her child and called on anyone who could benefit from the immunization offer.
She told PA: “Initially I went for the vaccine, but then I advised not to take it.
“I thought I would have the vaccine when I had the baby, but I wasn’t.”
Earlier this week, the government launched an advertising campaign encouraging expectant mothers to be immunized and boosted, after previously data had shown that the vaccine was safe in pregnancy.
The Department of Health and Human Services cited statistics from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System which showed that 96.3% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with symptoms of Covid-19 between May and October were unvaccinated, a third of whom required respiratory assistance.
In December, the UK immunization authority made pregnant women a priority immunization group after studies showed that they were susceptible to more serious pregnancy diseases and complications if infected with Covid-19.
In November last year, experts warned that while vaccine coverage among pregnant women was improving, they were worried that some groups were avoiding vaccination, including younger women, those in the poorest areas, and black and ethnic minority women.
Rachel, who thanked staff at New Cross’s Integrated Critical Care (ICCU) and Glenfield Hospital in Leicester for their care, said it was “really important” that everyone had their vaccines.
“I’d say take [the vaccine] “It’s a two-minute thing that could save months of agony if you end up like me,” said the grieving mother.
Speaking of her loss, she said, “I didn’t actually know I gave birth. I was on drugs so they wanted to tell me when I am not sedated and the obstetrician informed me a few days later.
“My emotions were incredulous – in an instant you have a scan and reveal your gender, you name the baby and you are excited, and then there was a sudden loss.
“I only saw him once. Normally, I would be able to spend a lot more time with him and keep him. But I was unable to do so due to the circumstances.
She said her partner and 18-year-old son had a hard time.
“We are all devastated by the loss,” she said. “We were all very excited about the new life and then we were left with nothing.”