An unvaccinated British mother whose baby died after receiving COVID-19 has said she has no regrets that she has not been vaccinated against the disease.
On October 22, just days after the mother of three, Katie Leeming, 22, was tested positive for COVID-19, Ivy-Rose Court, who was born prematurely in a week 26, died.
Leeming, a bakery assistant from Blackpool, Lancashire, said she chose not to be vaccinated after hearing “horror stories about women who have had abortions.” She said the accounts scared her and she did not want to “take the risk.”
“A lady said she had received the vaccination and that her baby was stillborn the following week,” Leeming told the Daily Mail. “Obviously there could have been other causes for this and the vaccine might not have caused it, but it scared me and scared me off.”
Leeming said she decided to seek medical attention when she “did not notice the baby moving at all.”
“That was where they said the baby’s heart rate was not as it should have been and they had to deliver her there and then,” the 22-year-old recalled.
Ivy-Rose was delivered via an emergency caesarean section at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
“I’ve had two other premature babies, so I knew what I was expecting and what the risks were. But I tried to be as positive as I could when I knew how my other children survived. It was first five days later when she caught COVID she started to get worse.
Ivy-Rose “started going down fast” on Oct. 21, Leeming said. Her baby also suffered from other complications due to being born prematurely, including a pulmonary hemorrhage and a cerebral hemorrhage.
“They said we should go in and be with her because they were not sure she would make it through the night.”
She was transferred to the Royal Preston Hospital neonatal unit, which weighed only 2lb 30z, and shortly after, the newborn’s heart rate and oxygen level dropped further.
Leeming said she and her family made the decision to turn off life support in the early hours of Oct. 22.
“At 11pm they said too much damage had been done and that the best thing to do would be to let her go,” she said. “But they gave us a few hours to hold her and be with her.
“Every hour is different. I have been through all stages of grief and back again. I have gone from feeling completely numb, feeling as if nothing has happened and expecting to feel the baby’s movements – because I should still be pregnant with her – to completely crushed over how it all happened. I’m crushed. “
Leeming said that despite what has happened, she does not regret the decision not to be vaccinated.
“I do not know if it would have made a difference or not. I had thoughts in my mind about it – what if I had had it? Would she still be here today? What if it’s my fault? But my midwife told “I can not afford to think like that. I could still have gotten COVID-19 after the vaccination, or worse, if I got it and something happened anyway, I would have blamed the vaccine,” she added.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Pregnant women and newly pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from the virus compared to non-pregnant women, it says.
Data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy, the CDC advises.
“There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, are causing fertility problems in women or men,” the public health agency said.
A spokesman for Blackpool Teaching Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust said in a statement to several news outlets that it was “deeply saddened” by the death of Ivy-Rose.
“All our thoughts are with her family at this incredibly sad time,” the spokesman said.