Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) confirmed that it has appointed retired consultant neonatologist Dr Helen Mactier to chair the expert group which will investigate the possible causes behind two unexplained spikes in neonatal mortality just six months apart, in September 2021 and March 2022, when a total of 39 infants died.
PUBLIC health experts ruled out any link between spikes in neonatal deaths and the Covid vaccine without checking whether any of the infants’ mothers had received the jag during pregnancy.
An investigation has been launched into a spike in deaths among newborn babies in Scotland.
Official figures reveal that 21 infants died during September within 28 days of birth, causing the neonatal mortality rate to breach an upper warning threshold known as the ‘control limit’ for the first time in at least four years.
Control and warning limits are designed to flag up to public health teams when neonatal, stillbirth or other infant deaths are occurring at unexpectedly high or low levels which may not be due to chance.
Concerns have previously been raised about the potential impact of Covid on maternity services and maternal wellbeing, but it is the first time since the pandemic began that neonatal deaths have been so abnormally above average.
Although the rate fluctuates month to month, the figure for September – at 4.9 per 1000 live births – is on a par with levels that were last typically seen in the late 1980s.