Olivier Véran responded to BFMTV viewers on Wednesday February 2. The Minister of Health has indicated the first figures on the circulation of the BA.2 variant, cousin of Omicron in France. He also warned of the risks of premature birth in women who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Without a mask, smiling, Olivier Véran wanted to show “the sign” of an upturn in the epidemic in France on the set of BFMTV on February 2. The Minister of Health gave an update on the country’s health situation and wanted to be reassuring about the evolution of the BA.2 variant on the territory. But he still wanted to warn a certain category of the population: unvaccinated pregnant women.
30% of pregnant women are not vaccinated
Olivier Véran has indeed called on French women to be vaccinated against Covid-19, recalling a series of figures. First, he recalled that 29.8% of pregnant women had not received any dose of coronavirus vaccine in January 2021. This is “a figure too high in view of the risks”, insisted the Minister of Health. Health. knowing that the Ministry of Health insisted on Tuesday during a press briefing.
He continued: “There is for example”20 times more likely to give birth prematurely“, “8 times more likely to end up in intensive care”, or even “5 times more risk of the child going to intensive care“.
The origin of this data emerges from a recent study, identified by our colleagues from LCI. Published on January 13 in Nature, this work was carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Edinburgh, on a national panel of pregnant women. If a Covid-19 infection during pregnancy in an unvaccinated woman is associated with an increased risk of hospitalization, the study authors noted a increased complications for the baby.
Main danger: premature births (before the 37th week of gestation) but also perinatal death.
How was the study?
The researchers analyzed national data from 144,548 pregnancies. On these, the analysis relates to the 4,950 women positive for Covid-19 from the month of December. 89% of them were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
Of the 2,364 births to unvaccinated mothers who were infected, 241 were premature births, representing a rate of 10.2%. A risk that increases as the infection is close to childbirth.
Through this study, we understand thatan unvaccinated woman is 18.6% more likely to have a premature birth if she has Covid-19. A particularly problematic situation, as pointed out by Dr Karasek at SciencePost. In fact, this category includes highest risks of complications and death in infants involved.
The limits noted
In December 2020, AP-HP researchers already observed in a study carried out on a large number of cases links between a diagnosis of Covid-19 and disorders of pregnancy and childbirth. However, only patients with symptoms have been classified as Covid-19 cases. The study in question cannot therefore comment on the higher risk of problems in patients positive for Covid but asymptomatic, details The voice of the North.
This work only looks at pregnancies that have already entered their second trimester. The researchers therefore could not determine whether there was a higher risk of miscarriage in early pregnancy.
Also note: the data observed are from contaminations that took place between December 1, 2020 and October 31, 2021, i.e. before the arrival of Omicron on French territory.