A pregnant mother anxious about the coronavirus vaccine has said doing her research persuaded her to get the jab after several months of burying her head in the sand.
Laura Brunton, a life management coach, was initially hesitant about getting vaccinated after she fell pregnant with her third child, partly driven by a lot of misinformation she read online.
But she told the PA news agency that she decided to get her first dose after doing a “good old-fashioned pen to paper” pros and cons list following conversations with medical professionals.
Ms Brunton said she initially ignored the NHS texts inviting her to get a jab.
“I’ll be honest, I just buried my head in the sand because instinctively it just felt so new, and as many people know, as a parent your first instinct is to protect your child so I kind of took the ‘let’s wait and see’ attitude,” she said.
“At the same time now I can understand I was being influenced by social media and a lot of misinformation or disinformation from unverified sources about what the risks were.”
Ms Brunton, from Witney in Oxfordshire, said that after her 20-week scan went well and as lockdown eased, she began to think about how big a risk catching Covid-19 might be to both her unborn baby and her two young children.
“I’ve started my own coaching business and coached a lot of women – making sure that women are empowered and have information at their fingertips to make informed decisions,” she said.
“So I thought ‘come on, you really need to put that into action’.”
Ms Brunton said she had found a lot of information on the NHS site, which then directed her to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives and other institutions endorsing the vaccine.
“The fact that I’m not a health professional, I personally thought ‘I have to have faith that these people are highly qualified and they have mine and my baby’s best interests at heart’,” she said.
She also spoke with her consultant and her midwife before making a decision.
“I talked it through with my husband and I literally did a pros and cons list – a good old-fashioned pen to paper list after looking at all the information available,” she said.
“I thought, on balance, it is safer for me, being the carrier of my child and also having two kids at home already who obviously aren’t vaccinated, (to have a jab) to protect all of us.”
Ms Brunton said doing her research had been the “clincher” that allowed her to “switch off from the disinformation noise”.
She said that her whole family having severe Covid in March 2020 had led her to worry what would happen to her unborn baby if she were to catch it again.
Ms Brunton said that having the vaccine had also been a boost to her mental health.
“I thought, ‘I don’t want to spend all of my pregnancy feeling anxious, being scared of other people, not wanting to go out and effectively being housebound’,” she said.
“That’s not creating conditions for my baby, my other children to thrive as well.”
She continued: “I’m not here to say, ‘go and get the vaccine’, I’m here to say, ‘I hope that women know there’s an abundance of information, credible verified information’.”
Ms Brunton added: “Start with the NHS website and take it from there and know that these people have got your best interests at heart, but ultimately it is down to you and nobody else – and whatever decision you make, it has to be yours.”
“As much as I think that all of us mums and parents are superwomen, without the vaccine we are just a person like anybody else and are susceptible to catching (coronavirus), and then putting our babies and our families at risk,” she said.
On Friday, England’s chief midwife urged expectant mothers to go and get the vaccine, after the latest coronavirus figures revealed no pregnant women with both doses of the vaccine have been admitted to hospital with the disease.
Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, chief midwifery officer for England, said: “Vaccines save lives, and this is another stark reminder that the Covid-19 jab can keep you, your baby and your loved ones safe and out of hospital.”