Advisers in the UK have proposed new guidelines encouraging pregnant women to take up the Covid-19 vaccine.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has released new advice, urging pregnant women to accept the vaccine when their age group is invited to book an appointment. Previously, pregnant women were advised against vaccination while research was underway to determine the safety of immunisation using the approved Covid-19 vaccines.
The JCVI is advising teams overseeing the vaccine rollout to provide pregnant women with either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. These vaccines will also be used as an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine in adults aged under 30. Pregnant women have also been encouraged to discuss any potential concerns or risks with their GP before making an appointment but this is not compulsory.
A spokesperson for the JCVI said that there was no evidence to suggest that the vaccines approved for use in the UK are unsafe for pregnant women but more research is required because pregnant women were not involved in trials for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. More evidence will be collected and analysed in the coming weeks and months.
Chair of the JCVI, Professor Wei Shen Lim, said that pregnant women should contact their GP to talk about the vaccine and gain a better understanding of the benefits and risks. Pregnant women who have a high risk of developing complications associated with Covid-19 are strongly urged to book an appointment for the jab when they are invited to do so.
The new guidelines were welcomed by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives. Dr Mary Ross-Davies, from the Royal College of Midwives described the new guidelines as “a sensible step.”
The latest figures show that over 10 million British people have now received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.