Developing a fast-track COVID-19 vaccination clinic for pregnant people
A pilot fast-track COVID-19 vaccination clinic was created in the east of England to provide expert advice, education and support for pregnant people. As the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed, it is clear that pregnant people are at high risk of becoming seriously unwell with the COVID-19 virus. Establishment of the clinic led to a 20% increase in COVID-19 vaccine uptake in this group, with 211 vaccinations between 28 June and 30 September 2021. Almost two-thirds (59%) of pregnant people reported they would not have taken up the vaccination if they had not discussed it as part of this service. Over half of those attending (50.2%) reside within the index of multiple deprivation levels 1–4, the most severely deprived areas. This article explores the development of the fast-track vaccination service and seeks to support others wishing to replicate its delivery in their areas.
Pregnant people are at increased risk of developing severe illness from the COVID-19 virus, particularly in those from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, those living in areas of increased socioeconomic deprivation and those in their third trimester (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), 2021). The James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in the east of England is situated within the top 10% of deprived areas (Norfolk Insight, 2021) and has a diverse community that includes pregnant people from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. Since April 2021, pregnant people have been offered the vaccine in line with their age cohort (UK Health Security Agency, 2021). Recent reports have shown one in three pregnant people in hospital with COVID-19 in England required additional respiratory support (33%), more than a third developed pneumonia (37%) and one in seven required intensive care (15%) (NHS England, 2021). However, 98% of pregnant people in hospital because of COVID-19 are unvaccinated (Department of Health and Social Care, 2021a; Public Health England, 2021). The concerning growing evidence base directly contributed to the establishment of a pilot fast-track vaccination clinic for pregnant people at The James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, where uptake for the vaccine in this group was low (only 13 pregnant people received the COVID-19 vaccine between March and April 2021).
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