BBC2 festive special sends message to pregnant women to get vaccinated

Published Wednesday 22 December 2021 at 13:38

A moving case study to be featured in an uplifting BBC2 Christmas special with Gareth Malone this Thursday will highlight the risks of pregnant women not getting vaccinated against Covid.

One of the patients featured in the show is 37 year old Tanviha who found herself in critical care with Covid-19 whilst eight months pregnant, before the vaccine was available to pregnant women.

Tanviha had to have an emergency Caesarean section to deliver her son and was placed into an induced coma, facing severe heart and lung failure. Her family were warned to expect the worst.

Thankfully, after the care of the East Lancashire Hospitals Trust and Wythenshawe Hospital, Tanviha made a full recovery. She is now urging pregnant women to come forward to be vaccinated, eager to prevent other families from having a similar traumatic experience.

Tanviha said:

The first time I saw my son he was two months old. It was the scariest experience of mine and my family’s life but I’m just grateful that me and my son are alive. If you’re unsure about getting vaccinated, please come forward and get your jab – not everyone’s as lucky as I am.

According to the Department of Health & Social Care, across England the majority of pregnant women who have been admitted to hospital with severe COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

Locally, vaccine uptake among pregnant women is lower than in other parts of England – in Lancashire and South Cumbria 62% of pregnant women have had their Covid jabs, and in parts of Blackburn particularly the uptake is as low as 53%.

Professor Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:

The Covid vaccination is safe for pregnant women and we are urging them to protect themselves and their unborn babies by having their jabs.

Pregnant women are classed as clinically vulnerable to Covid as a precaution because they can sometimes be more at risk from viruses. Although it’s very rare for pregnant women to become seriously ill if they get Covid-19, when it does happen, it may be more likely later in pregnancy. If this happens, there’s a small chance the baby may be born early or the mother may be advised to give birth earlier than the due date.

While the chances of having a stillbirth are low, there is some emerging evidence that the risk may be higher if the mother has Covid-19 at the time of birth. We’ve heard some heart-breaking tales of mothers losing their lives to Covid and never meeting their babies. We don’t want any more families to suffer this heartache.

David Anderson, Chaplain and Counsellor at the East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, was involved in Tanviha’s care and reunited with her during the BBC2 documentary.

David said:

One of the most moving aspects of taking part in the programme was the opportunity to meet one of the younger patients who was cared for on ICU.

Having supported her when she was so poorly and low, it was lovely to meet her again looking so well and happy. It highlighted once more, just how the dedication of our staff have saved so many people and enabled children to grow up having their parents with them.

Tanviha’s adorable three year old daughter performed alongside staff and patients from the East Lancashire Hospitals Trust in a special Christmas concert in Blackburn Market with choirmaster Gareth Malone, to be featured on Thursday’s show.

Tanviha added:

Music definitely helps the healing process and Gareth’s concert was a wonderful distraction for what we had been through as a family. I am so grateful and everyone involved was amazing. I feel very lucky to be a part of something which showcases our community spirit along with the amazing NHS and East Lancashire Hospitals Trust.

Blackburn Sings Christmas with Gareth Malone will be broadcast on Thursday 23 December at 8pm on BBC2.

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