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Covid and pregnancy, 95% vaccine uptake and eating disorder crisis – this week’s Friday Five

Study finds 50% increased risk of complications during pregnancy with Covid

Women with Covid symptoms during pregnancy are 50% more likely to have complications, according to research at the University of Oxford.

The study, named INTERCOVID, looked at data from 2,130 pregnant women globally. Researchers found that for those experiencing Covid symptoms likelihood of complications, including premature birth, pre-eclampsia and admission to intensive care, were significantly increased. Babies born to mothers with Covid were also at higher risk of intensive care admission due to more premature deliveries.

“Our aim,” said Stephen Kennedy, Professor of Reproductive Medicine at the University of Oxford “is not to scare women. Our aim is to inform. There are only three choices for pregnant women: Self-isolate, which is bloody miserable and for most pregnant women, especially those with other children, almost impossible. Have the vaccine. Or accept the risk of getting Covid. That’s it. Given that the medical profession is failing in its responsibility to give good advice, our paper should help families to make the decision. We know [now] that getting Covid in pregnancy is harmful. All pregnant women should get vaccinated.”

Read the full story in the Telegraph.

95% of over 50s have been vaccinated in England

NHS data reveals that 95% of those aged over 50 have received one dose of the Covid vaccine.

More than 33 million people across the UK have had at least one dose while over 10 million have received two doses. The government remains on target to offer a vaccine to all adults in the UK by the end of July, according to a tweet by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

However, uptake among care home workers is still lower than that of the general public, with only 80.4% having received the jab.

Read the full story in the BBC.

“Desperate pressure” on hospital beds for eating disorders

Increasing numbers of patients with eating disorders cannot access specialist support as a result of bed shortages, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Doctors are calling for emergency funding, noting a rising demand for treatment for eating disorders such as anorexia. Agnes Ayton, chair of the Eating Disorder Faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said that in in adult services in my area in Oxfordshire, the consultants are reporting 50 admissions for potential life-threatening eating disorders, and in a normal year we would have 10, so that would mean general hospital admissions.” This means that patients are having to be looked after on general hospital wards without specialist care or knowledge.

Parents have also talked about caring for children and family members at home, including tube feeding. One mother said, “I am now running a single-person inpatient unit in our house … if I fail, does she end up back in general under restraint?”

Read the full story in the Guardian.


J&J vaccine to be rolled out in the EU

Following review of the vaccine by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will begin supplying to countries in the EU. The EMA has examined the risk of rare blood clots linked to the vaccine and concluded that the vaccine remained beneficial overall.

Unlike the Pfizer, Astrazeneca and Moderna jabs, the vaccine is given in just one dose – which could have advantages. “We strongly believe in the positive benefits of our single-shot, easily transportable COVID-19 vaccine to help protect the health of people everywhere and reach communities in need globally. We are committed to equitable access and to bringing an affordable COVID-19 vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use,” said Paul Stoffels, vice chairman of the executive committee and chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson.

Read the full story in the PharmaTimes.


Quote of the week

This week, NICE announced their new five-year strategy, aiming to incorporate new and innovative treatments.

“The world around us is changing. New treatments and technologies are emerging at a rapid pace, with real-world data driving a revolution in evidence. We will help busy healthcare professionals to navigate these new changes and ensure patients have access to the best care and latest treatments,” Gillian Leng, chief executive of NICE.

Read more about the strategy here.

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