Following a recent post we published on social media about the Covid vaccine, and misinformation that was spreading online, we have been subjected to death threats, abuse and accusations that we are being paid to push the vaccine on to pregnant women.
We wanted to tackle this last point head-on and be really candid about any payment related to this work. So here are the facts:
We started talking about the covid vaccine for pregnant and lactating women in March 2021. After supporting pregnant women through covid with legal advice, whilst campaigning for pregnant women to be kept safe, we were devastated when a number of pregnant women died after contracting the disease. We worked with a number of scientists, doctors and immunologists to better understand the risks and benefits of the vaccine in pregnancy, and with their advice and support, we felt it important that pregnant women were prioritized for the jab. We also felt it important that pregnant women were given unbiased factual information about the risks and benefits of taking the vaccine whilst pregnant. We therefore held a number of webinars with experts – these were viewed by over 50,000 people. We also started to relay some of the information we had learned online.
To be clear – as a charity that has been established to end the motherhood penalty, this was not part of our remit. Infact, some would consider this to be ‘mission drift’ – but as this was a matter of life or death for some women, and as we have a large following of pregnant women and new mums we felt it was too important to ignore.
We received no funding for this work until October 2021 when Full Fact paid us £7,500 to support them to set up a free whatsapp helpline for pregnant women who were struggling to deduce fact from fiction when reading about the vaccine online. They paid us an additional £7,500 in December 2021 to continue this partnership. In return for the payment, we supplied Full Fact with anonymised details of the many questions we were receiving about the vaccine so that they could fact check responses; we made a series of videos, with their support, related to some of the most commonly asked questions and we published these online; and we tested and promoted the Whatsapp service. You can read more about that service here: https://fullfact.org/blog/2021/aug/covid-vaccines-and-pregnancy-fact-checked/
This is the only income our charity has received for this work. No member of the Pregnant Then Screwed team has ever received any additional money. Just like any other employee, we are all paid a salary for the work that we do to manage this charity and to achieve our mission of ending the motherhood penalty. There are now 6 employees at Pregnant Then Screwed and our salaries are funded by a number of Trusts and Foundations. You can scrutinize our accounts by visiting the charity commission. The official name of Pregnant Then Screwed is the Motherhood Plan, registered charity number 1188643, and our accounts are independently verified.
A rumour started on instagram suggests that the CEO is being paid £17 for every vaccine given to a pregnant woman. This is absolute nonsense. The reason why we continue to talk about the vaccine online, despite the abuse it elicits, is because we believe (and research confirms) that the vaccine will save the lives of many people, it reduces the chance of still-birth and premature labour, and it reduces the chance of severe disease. We therefore feel strongly that factual information about the vaccine should be made available on our social media platforms.