Dr Naro Imcha, Associate Clinical Director of Maternal & Child Health at UL Hospitals
UL Hospitals Group has announced it will run a satellite Covid-19 vaccination clinic at University Maternity Hospital Limerick next week to offer safe, convenient vaccination for expectant mums attending the hospital and inpatients who wish to be vaccinated.
The announcement comes as UMHL marks world Patient Safety Day today, which this year marks ‘Safe maternal and newborn care’.
In line with guidance from the National Immunisation Authority that women can receive mRNA vaccines at any stage of pregnancy, clinical and midwifery directors at the maternity hospital state that the satellite clinic offers women a convenient way to keep themselves and their babies safe while Covid-19 remains prevalent in the community.
Commenting on the satellite clinic, Dr Naro Imcha, Associate Clinical Director of Maternal & Child Health at UL Hospitals said: “We want to be very clear, and reassure all pregnant women that Covid-19 vaccination is safe. It’s the best way to protect yourself, and your baby, from Covid-19.”
The satellite clinic, staffed by a team of experienced Covid-19 vaccinators from the Mid-West Covid-19 Vaccination team, will be based at the antenatal clinic in UMHL between Monday (September 20) and Friday (September 25).
The Pfizer mRNA vaccine will be administered to those women who have antenatal appointments scheduled and who wish to receive the vaccine.
Eileen Ronan, Director of Midwifery at UL Hospitals commented: “At all times, and especially during this pandemic, the safety of mothers and babies in our hospital, and our staff, is at the centre of every aspect of the care we deliver. This satellite clinic is a convenient and safe way for expectant mums attending our hospital to get vaccinated if they wish to receive it.”
Vaccines will also be offered to women who are inpatients at the hospital but have not yet been vaccinated or are due to receive their second Pfizer vaccine.
Any woman with an antenatal appointment at UMHL from next Monday who would like to be vaccinated in the satellite clinic should bring photo ID showing their date of birth. Those aged under 16 years must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Dr Imcha explained the importance of vaccination against the risks that Covid-19 can present to pregnant women, particularly in the latter stages of pregnancy: “Over the course of the pandemic there have been mixed messages about Covid-19, and we understand how pregnant women have been confused, hesitant, and even scared to get vaccinated. But it’s important that women understand that Covid-19 can cause serious illness for pregnant women who become infected with the disease, particularly during the third trimester, from the 28th week of pregnancy until birth.”
Dr Imcha added: “At that stage, the risks increase, of admission to Intensive Care; of complications in pregnancy; of serious conditions such as pre-eclampsia; of the need for caesarean delivery; and ultimately, of stillbirth. So please remember - COVID-19 vaccination is safe. It’s the best way to protect yourself, and your baby, from Covid-19.”
Eileen Ronan added that the rate of vaccination among pregnant women admitted to UMHL was quite low and that, in common with other maternity hospitals, the majority of those admitted with Covid-19 had not been vaccinated.
“We must not drop our guard against Covid-19, particularly in clinical environments where the safety of patients and staff are absolutely paramount. Internationally, and in this country, we’ve seen that while vaccination does not eliminate the threat of Covid-19, it certainly protects people from the worst effects of the disease,” she explained.
“We are hopeful that our satellite vaccination clinic will make the process of vaccination more convenient and accessible to pregnant women attending our hospital. For any expectant or new mums who have concerns about the vaccine, we would advise them to contact our dedicated vaccination helpline on 087-3593568 from 9am to 2.30pm, Monday to Friday,” Ms Ronan added.
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