Mother Whose Baby Died of COVID Doesn't Regret Not Being Vaccinated

An unvaccinated British mother whose baby died after contracting COVID-19 has said that she has no regrets about not being vaccinated against the disease.

On October 22, just days after mother of three Katie Leeming, 22, tested positive for COVID-19, Ivy-Rose Court, who was born prematurely at 26 weeks,died.

Leeming, a bakery assistant from Blackpool, Lancashire, said that she chose not to get vaccinated after hearing "horror stories about women having miscarriages." She said the accounts scared her and she didn't want to "take the risk."

"One lady said she had received the vaccination and that her baby was stillborn the week after," Leeming told the Daily Mail. "There obviously could have been other reasons for this, and the vaccine might not have caused it, but it scared me and put me off."

Leeming said she decided to seek medical attention when she "didn't feel the baby move at all."

"It was there they said that the baby's heart rate wasn't 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 cesarean at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

"I have had two other premature children, so I knew what I was expecting, and what the risks were. But I was trying to be as positive as I could, knowing how my other children survived. It wasn't until five days later, when she caught COVID, that she started deteriorating.

Ivy-Rose "started going down quickly" on October 21, Leeming said. Her baby also suffered other complications due to being born premature, including a pulmonary hemorrhage and a brain hemorrhage.

"They told us to go in and be with her, because they weren't sure she was going to make it through the night."

She was transferred to Royal Preston Hospital neonatal unit weighing just 2lb 30z, and shortly later, the newborn's heart rate and oxygen levels dropped further.

Leeming said she and her family made the decision to switch off life support in the early hours of October 22.

"By 11 p.m., they said too much damage had been done, and the kindest 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 the stages of grief and back again. I've 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 heartbroken about how it all happened. I'm devastated."

Leeming said that despite what has happened, she doesn't regret the decision not to get vaccinated.

"I don't know if it would have made a difference or not. I had thoughts in my mind about it—what if I'd had it? Would she still be here today? What if it's my fault? But my midwife told me I can't afford to think like that. I could have still caught COVID-19 after the vaccination, or worse, if I did have it and something happened anyway, I would have blamed the vaccine," she added.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with the virus compared with non-pregnant people, 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, cause fertility problems in women or men," the public health agency says.

A spokesperson for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said in a statement to several news outlets that it is "deeply saddened" about the death of Ivy-Rose.

"All our thoughts are with her family at this incredibly sad time," the spokesperson said.

A father and mother with their newborn
A father and a mother look at their newborn son during the Covid-19 pandemic, novel coronavirus at the maternity of the Diaconesses hospital in Paris, on November 17, 2020. Ivy-Rose Court, who was born prematurely at 26 weeks, passed away days after her mother tested positive for COVID-19. MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images