KATE Mulholland says she cried “tears of relief” when she received her first Covid vaccination a few days ago.

The 38-year-old, who is 33 weeks pregnant with her second child, said she was more concerned about the risks of the virus than any posed by the vaccine. Those fears had increased as her pregnancy progressed.

“I had a chat with my consultant and it was more about, how can we hurry this up,” she said.

Pregnant women are not currently being prioritised for vaccines with appointments based on age and clinical risk group.

However, there has been calls for this to change on account of growing evidence that Covid-19 can lead to complications for both mother and baby, including stillbirth or premature delivery.

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Dr Sarah Stock, a leading Scots obstetrician, said the current recommendations are based on the best available evidence, but added women should be offered prompt appointments at centres which offer “appropriate vaccines”.


The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said it is preferable for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines because their safety is backed by a US trial involving 100,000 women.  

There is no evidence to suggest other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women but studies are ongoing.

Data on uptake rates amongst pregnant women is not available yet in Scotland but there have been reports of women continuing to be advised not to have vaccines by midwives.

The UK’s first Covid-19 vaccine study for pregnant women is about to get under way at 11 hospital sites, including Edinburgh where about 235 women will be given the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or a placebo.

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Ms Mulholland, who is due to give birth to her second child on July 5, said she had no reservations about coming forward for her jag but said she would only have accepted the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

“I had tears in my eyes,”  said Ms Mullholland, who is married to Stephen, 38, and has a two-year-old son Xavier.

“I actually didn’t have any concerns. I can only speak for myself, but I think when the JCVI said it was fine for pregnant women to get the vaccine, routinely, I felt really relieved.

“I am consultant led because I’m having a section and I had a quick chat with her but it was more, how can we hurry this up rather than whether I should have it. She was very supportive and there was no qualms in her mind.

“For me, there was more and more evidence that especially when you are getting into your third trimester, you are more likely to have severe complications. I feel breathless all the time as it is, because I’m a bit anaemic so I did not fancy also having a respiratory illness.

“There’s also a higher chance of premature birth. I’m having a section this time, so I will be in hospital for at least two nights so there is the risk of hospital acquired infection,” said Ms Mulholland, who lives in Kilmacolm in Renfrewshire.


“Then of course, being in the Glasgow area, it’s in the backdrop of rising cases and my wee one is at nursery, so it’s not like I can shield. So for me I was really relieved. I do take other vaccines, like the flu jag.”

Dr Stock, who is an honorary consultant in maternal and fetal medicine at Edinburgh University, said it was understandable that women might feel some anxiety about receiving a newer vaccine.

She said: “I think it’s entirely understandable that you might have questions about taking any medication in pregnancy.

“There is accumulating real world evidence that the vaccine is safe in pregnancy. 

“There is no evidence it affects fertility or breastfeeding. What we do have evidence of is that Covid-19 can be serious in pregnancy. We know that pregnant women can become unwell and it can cause complications in the baby such as premature birth.

“Some women might be at higher risk with underlying conditions or at higher risk of exposure to Covid-19.

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“The data that we have accumulating mainly comes from the States and that relates to Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“However, pregnant women have had the AstraZeneca vaccine and certainly the advice is that if they have had their first dose of AZ to continue with that.

“If you are going along with your age grouping, you should be directed to centres where they have the Pfizer vaccines and I think if your centre doesn’t, we can re-arrange the appointment for you.”

She said the data had also been reassuring for women who had taken part in trials, unaware they were pregnant.