More pregnant women in Ireland could soon be encouraged to get vaccinated.
This follows a call by England's chief midwife for more pregnant women to get the Covid jab as soon as possible.
This is because there is new evidence that those who don’t get vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus stand a much higher chance of suffering severe disease.
UK hospitals are noticing a rise in the number of pregnant women being admitted to hospital.
According to the BBC, in the last three months, 171 pregnant women with Covid needed hospital care — but none had received both jabs.
Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent has said all healthcare professionals have "a responsibility to proactively encourage pregnant women" to get vaccinated.
And the chief midwife for England says in a letter to midwives, obstetricians, and GP practices around the country that advice on jabs be offered “at every opportunity”.
The HSE already encourages pregnant women to take up the Covid-19 vaccine when it is offered.
In addition, all 19 maternity hospitals/units in Ireland offer pregnant women a consultation to discuss the vaccine with their midwife, GP, or obstetrician.
However, uptake earlier this year was not as high as health chiefs would have wanted.
According to some of the latest HSE stats, only around 3,800 of the 12,000 women who had had a consultation have either received a vaccine, or had an appointment for a vaccine during the week commencing May 24.
All mothers-to-be have been offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in England since mid-April 2021, in line with their age cohort.
And so far, out of 606,500 pregnant women in England in the past year, 51,724 pregnant women have received at least one Covid vaccine so far, and around 20,648 have had their second vaccine.
According to initial findings of a study into the impact of SARS-CoV-2 variant on the severity of maternal infection and perinatal outcomes, the proportion of pregnant women admitted to hospital with moderate to severe Covid has increased with the Delta variant compared to previous variants.
In addition, the UK Obstetric Surveillance System national cohort data showed about a third of the hospitalised pregnant women developed pneumonia; one in seven needed intensive care, and about one in five gave birth prematurely.
Oxford University’s Professor Marian Knight, who is the lead researcher in the study, told the BBC’sprogramme that “the good news from this study is that the vaccine does appear to be very protective".
“We know the vast majority of women in the most recent wave who have been admitted to hospital with Covid in pregnancy, have not had a vaccine," Prof Knight said.
“We know that more than 50,000, women in the UK have had a vaccine in pregnancy, and more than 130,000 in the US, with no concerns over safety signals.
“So I think pregnant women can be reassured about the safety of the vaccine.
“And we need to emphasise the benefits not only to them but we know that antibodies are passed on to their babies as well so it's really important not just to prevent illness in you as a pregnant woman but also to prevent the consequences of illness for your baby.”