Top photo: “Dr Austin Dennard said she felt comfortable receiving the Covid-19 vaccine… ‘As a physician and a mother, receiving the vaccine is another opportunity I have to fight for the health of my patients, my community, and my pregnancy.’”
Pregnant women should be offered the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, with priority based on age and clinical risk group, the UK government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has said, as no specific safety concerns related to pregnancy have been identified. Evidence from the USA has shown that around 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated – mainly with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines – without any safety concerns being raised.
While severe illness from Covid-19 is uncommon in pregnant women, those who do get symptomatic infection are two to three times more likely to give birth prematurely, the Committee said. As age is still the greatest risk factor for severe illness, they have recommended that women be invited for vaccination along with their age and/or clinical risk group.
Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said: “The available data on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines provide confidence that they can be offered safely to pregnant women. The vaccines continue to save thousands of lives and it is important that we encourage as many people as possible to take up the offer when it is their turn.”
Pregnant women have been advised to discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their clinician, including the latest evidence on safety and which vaccines they should receive. Those planning pregnancy, in the immediate post-partum period, or breastfeeding can be vaccinated with any vaccine, depending on their age and clinical risk group.
Edward Morris, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists UK, said: “Vaccination offers pregnant women the best protection from Covid-19, which can be serious in some women. We believe it should be a woman’s choice whether to have the vaccine or not after considering the benefits and risks and would encourage pregnant women to discuss it with a trusted source like their GP, obstetrician or midwife, or a healthcare professional in a vaccination centre.”
SOURCE: BMJ, by Elisabeth Mahase, 19 April 2021;373:n1013 (Open access) ;
PHOTO + QUOTE: UT Southwestern Medical Center Blog, USA, 17 December 2020