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The Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership COVID-19 Vaccination Programme team have been recognised for their innovative work on increasing vaccine confidence in pregnant women, in the HSJ Patient Safety Awards 2022.

The team’s work on increasing vaccine uptake amongst pregnant women and their families centred on increasing confidence in COVID-19 vaccines amongst pregnant women and communities who face greater inequalities. Using feedback from women, families and carers, the team, with their midwifery clinical background were able to improve COVID-19 vaccination rates amongst pregnant women, ultimately protecting mum and baby from the potentially serious complications of the virus.

Pregnant women, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy, are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19, which could lead to complications for women and their babies. Throughout the pandemic, one in five of the most critically ill COVID-19 patients were unvaccinated pregnant women, and over half of women admitted to hospital were from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background.

Work focused on listening, understanding, and acknowledging concerns raised by women, families, carers, and communities around the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy. Close collaboration with local maternity units, trusted community partners and faith leaders was vital in helping reach women and families, and in developing conversations with people from a variety of backgrounds.

By listening to and understanding concerns, the local maternity vaccination team came up with creative ways of having personalised conversations with women and their families. This included first of its kind question and answer sessions at restaurants and bespoke pop-up events at Broadway Shopping Centre, maternity units, and community centres. The teams also organised virtual group talks, webinars, podcasts, multi-language videos, and family and household COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

These approaches in collaboration with communities, voluntary and independent sectors across the area, helps to ensure that no one is left behind and empowers women and their communities to have greater confidence around the COVID-19 vaccine.

Rukeya Miah BEM, Deputy Associate Director of Nursing and Senior Midwife and Professional Midwifery Advocate, Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership, COVID-19 Vaccination Programme said: “I am so proud of the work of local maternity teams on informing and educating pregnant women, families and communities around the COVID-19 vaccine. This shortlisting is testament to their hard work and dedication to the women and families they care for.

“By acting as one with community groups, and local people, we have been able to reach across cultures and communities, helping to make sure that women and families who face health inequalities are not left behind.

“The COVID-19 vaccine continues to be important for pregnant women in preventing serious complications. We continue to have one to one conversations with members of the community, which includes pregnant women and families. I encourage all pregnant women who have any concerns or feedback about the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy to speak to their midwifery team who will be happy to help.”

The Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership, COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy pathway was shortlisted in the Maternity and Midwifery Initiative of the Year category. The winner will be announced during the HSJ Patient Safety Awards 2022 on Thursday 15 September 2022.