Ayr MSP Siobhian Brown is welcoming the news that pregnant women are being made a priority group for Covid-19 vaccinations. The move follows repeated calls from maternal health experts.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has revised its guidance and moved pregnant women into priority group six, alongside adults under the age of 65 who have long-term health conditions.

This comes after research from The University of Oxford showed pregnant women and their babies were at risk if they became infected.

Ms Brown said this week: “I am relieved that the JCVI has revised its guidance and taken steps to prioritise pregnant women. The research and data surrounding the risks are clear. Almost all (98%) of pregnant women admitted to intensive care units with coronavirus symptoms were unvaccinated. And the risk of premature birth for those with COVID-19 triples.

“The vaccine is the best protection again the virus, for you and your baby, especially as we face uncertainty surrounding the omicron strain. It can be given at any stage in your pregnancy.

“I understand that some women may be worried, and I would urge you to speak with your midwife or doctor for reassurances. Getting the vaccine and the booster is the best way to protect ourselves and others.”

Chief Medical Officer Professor Gregor Smith added: “During pregnancy, your immune system is weaker than usual. This means you are more likely to get certain infections and illnesses that can be harmful to you and your baby.

“The best way to protect you and your baby from serious disease and illness is getting the recommended vaccines at the right time. The antibodies you develop after getting a vaccine transfer from you to your unborn baby. This helps give your newborn baby protection.”