Towards the end of last year, ground-breaking news broke that a vaccine for coronavirus had been developed by Pfizer and BioNTech – which was quickly followed by the news of an Oxford vaccine and a Moderna vaccine too.
While all working towards the same end goal, the different types of vaccine have slight variations. For example, both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna jabs use a similar mRNA technology containing genetic instructions, teaching the body how to defend against COVID 19, whereas the Oxford vaccine introduces the coronavirus gene to human cells causing the necessary defensive proteins to develop.
The NHS have now begun rolling vaccines out to the elderly and frontline workers, and to some of those who are classed as being in the higher risk category of falling seriously ill to COVID 19 (just FYI, here's a handy list outlining the order of who will likely be getting the COVID 19 vaccine next).
Now, The World Heath Organization has issued updated guidance to say that pregnant women should not have the vaccine, unless they are deemed to be high risk. "While pregnancy puts women at a higher risk of severe COVID-19, the use of this vaccine in pregnant women is currently not recommended, unless they are at risk of high exposure (e.g. health workers)," the WHO's website states.
Back in December, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) also shared these sentiments and advised pregnant women ought to abstain from getting the vaccine because there is "no data as yet on the safety of COVID 19 vaccines in pregnancy".
However, this decision does not appear to have been made because of any specific dangers that have been flagged during clinical trials, but rather that experts do not want to advise the vaccine until more solid data on how it could impact a pregnant person exists.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adds that the COVID-19 vaccine, like other mRNA vaccines, is best recommended only to "certain groups" (again, meaning frontline workers etc) of pregnant people and say: "Until findings are available from clinical trials and additional studies, only limited data [is] available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, including mRNA vaccines, administered during pregnancy."
It also points out that while research involving humans is still ongoing, animal developmental and reproductive toxicity studies using pregnant and pre-pregnant rats did not raise any concerns.
The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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