UPDATED ADVICE - Covid-19 Vaccination in Pregnancyby Laura Driver
New guidance has been issued regarding the use of Covid-19 vaccinations for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The advice has been issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and says that pregnant women can be given the jab if they are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ to Covid-19.
The guidance says that the current data available does not indicate any safety concern for pregnant women or their babies.
It reads: “There is no known risk associated with giving non-live vaccines during pregnancy. These vaccines cannot replicate, so they cannot cause infection in either the woman or the unborn child.”
It adds, however, that there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine use of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy.
Those considered to be extremely vulnerable to the virus are generally the elderly and people with an underlying health condition that may put them at a very high risk of experiencing serious complications of COVID-19.
Such conditions for pregnant women could include:
- Solid organ transplant recipients
- Those with severe respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis and severe asthma
- Those who have homozygous sickle cell disease
- Those receiving immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
- Those receiving dialysis or with chronic kidney disease (stage 5)
- Those with significant congenital or acquired heart disease
Pregnant women who are frontline health or social care workers, including carers in a residential home, can also discuss the option of vaccination with their obstetrician or doctor.
This is because they may be more at risk of exposure to coronavirus, even if they are not more likely to become seriously ill.
VACCINE ADVICE IF YOU ARE BREASTFEEDING
The JCVI also updated its advice for women who are breastfeeding. It said that there is no known risk in giving the vaccines to breastfeeding women.
Breastfeeding women should therefore be offered priority vaccination if they are otherwise eligible - for example if they are a frontline health or social care worker.
Women should, however, be advised that there is lack of safety data for these specific vaccinations in breastfeeding. The advice applies to both the Oxford University/AstraZeneca and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.
The guidance, which also covers advice on other priority groups for vaccination, can be viewed in full here.