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In Loving Memory of Mary Agyiewaa Agyapong

My name is Ernest Boateng; I am the husband of Mary Agyapong, the 28 year old pregnant nurse who tragically died in April, after becoming infected with Covid19. Since Mary’s death, very little has been done to protect pregnant women from this life threatening virus, despite studies showing that for those in the later stages of pregnancy, they are more likely to become severely unwell. That is why I am calling on the Government to protect pregnant women by ensuring they can either work from home, or they must be suspended from work on full pay.

The announcement of a vaccine which is to be rolled out imminently is good news for many people who are vulnerable, but pregnant women will not be given the vaccine. This means they will not be protected when other vulnerable people will be. The Government must consider the specific needs of pregnant women to ensure they are safe.

The guidance for pregnant women has been confusing throughout this pandemic. The current guidance continues to list pregnant women as vulnerable and says that if they cannot work from home then they should adhere to strict social distancing. But, we know that this is not happening.

Research by Pregnant Then Screwed in October found that 57% of pregnant women who are working outside of the home do not feel safe, and only half of pregnant women (53%) have had a risk assessment from their employer, and even then, many employers are ignoring their own risk assessment. Only 1% of pregnant women who cannot work from home have been suspended from work on safety grounds.

The groups at increased risk of severe COVID-19 were recognised including the increased risk for mothers from Black, Asian and minority ethnic heritage.

An analysis of women in French hospitals showed that those in the second half of pregnancy, from 20 weeks gestation, were five times more likely to be admitted to ICU than those in the first half of pregnancy. We also know that maternal Covid-19 is associated with an approximately three times greater risk of preterm birth. Black pregnant women were 8 times more likely to be hospitalised than white pregnant women, according to research by Oxford University.

Mary should not have been working based on the facts and findings above. She was 35 weeks pregnant when she tested positive for Covid-19.

In memory of my beautiful, kind and caring wife, I ask that no other family has to experience what mine has. Please sign this petition to demand that all pregnant women are protected by ensuring they can either work from home or are suspended from work on full pay.