Researchers have warned that the Delta variant of coronavirus that is sweeping the world, is likely to pose a greater risk to pregnant women. They have urged expectant women to come forward and get themselves vaccinated.

Oxford University researchers have expressed their concern about the findings which stated that more than 98% of pregnant women hospitalized with Covid are unvaccinated. Out of these, one in 10 end up in intensive care. The research utilized data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS), Daily Mail reported.

More than 3,300 pregnant women have been hospitalized with Covid symptoms since the pandemic started last year, the study revealed. Meanwhile, last week alone witnessed about 200 women being admitted to hospitals.

Prof Marian Knight, lead researcher from the university said that she was worried about the rise in pregnant women being hospitalized with COVID-19. “Though this rise is in line with increases we are seeing in the young population, I am concerned because recent surveys have shown many pregnant women still have some worries about getting the jab,” she added.

Between May to July, 171 pregnant women infected with COVID-19 were hospitalized, according to GP records and Public Health England (PHE) data, BBC reports. Interestingly, all these women didn’t take both the doses of vaccination.

Data suggests that of out of approximately 606,500 pregnant women in England in 2020-2021, around 51,724 pregnant women have received only the first shot of the Covid vaccine in England. Also, around 20,648 have had their subsequent dose.

Knight said that only around 51,000 women have got a jab in England, while more than 600,000 give birth each year. “That suggests a lot of women have not yet had a vaccine. And we know the vaccines work in real life,” she added.

The scientists tracked down in the study that the intensity of COVID-19 appears to have aggravated over time. During the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, less than a quarter of pregnant women were admitted to hospitals with moderate or severe symptoms. But, 45% of those women contracted the Delta variant.

Out of the 742 women hospitalized since Feb. 1, just three have gotten the first portion of the Covid vaccine. None have gotten the two shots. The findings of the study will hopefully encourage pregnant women to get the vaccine. 

Representational image A pregnant woman is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 at a vaccination center in Medellin, Colombia on July 24, 2021. - Colombia started to inoculate pregnant women who have three months of pregnancy or more. Photo by Joaquen Sarmiento/AFP via Getty Images