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Pregnant women are now being officially advised to take the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccines when they are called up, leaving out the AstraZeneca vaccine. Until now, there has been no official guidance in the UK regarding which vaccine pregnant women should, but now the JCVI has updated this advice.
Those who are expecting should still be called up in their bracket, depending on their age and risk grouping.
The JCVI still advises pregnant women should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their clinician.
This comes after the AstraZeneca vaccine has been marred by numerous reports of rare blood clots following injection, although there is an extremely low chance of this happening.
The health body has also said there is no evidence to suggest that taking the AstraZeneca vaccine would be dangerous for pregnant women, just that more research is needed.
The JCVI also recently updated its vaccine advice for those under 30, who will now not be offered the AstraZeneca jab, and instead will be given the Pfizer or Moderna versions.
Those who are planning to become pregnant, are in the immediate postpartum, or are currently breastfeeding can be vaccinated with any vaccine, depending on their age and clinical risk group.
The UK is currently calling upon the over 45s to get their first dose of a vaccine.
Half of all adults in the UK have now been vaccinated with at least one dose, and the number of those with second doses is growing rapidly.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chairman for the JCVI, said: “We encourage pregnant women to discuss the risks and benefits with their clinician – those at increased risk of severe outcomes from Covid-19 are encouraged to promptly take up the offer of vaccination when offered.
“There have been no specific safety concerns from any brand of Covid-19 vaccines in relation to pregnancy.
“There is more real-world safety data from the US in relation to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in women who are pregnant – therefore, we advise a preference for these to be offered to pregnant women.”
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England (PHE), said: “The available data on the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines provide confidence that they can be offered safely to pregnant women.
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“The Covid-19 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.”
Dr Edward Morris, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said: “We are grateful to the JCVI for taking into consideration our evidence and updating the guidance around the Covid-19 vaccine in pregnancy.
“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 with a trusted source like their GP, obstetrician or midwife, or a healthcare professional in a vaccination centre.
“This move will empower all the pregnant women in the UK to make the decision that is right for them, at the same time that the non-pregnant population in their age group receive protection from Covid-19.”
Data from the USA shows some 90,000 pregnant individuals have been vaccinated, largely with mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna, and no safety concerns have been raised.
PHE analysis in England shows vaccines have so far prevented 10,4000 deaths of those over 60, up to the end of March.
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