The COVID-19 vaccine is available to pregnant women at any time during pregnancy. To date, at least 62,000 women in the UK have received at least one dose. If you’re expecting, here are five main reasons why you should get the jab.
1) Taking two doses is the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19
If you’re pregnant, taking both doses of your vaccine is the best way to protect yourself – and those around you – from COVID-19. Although the overall risk of COVID-19 for pregnant women and their unborn babies is small, some women can become seriously ill and require hospital treatment in a later pregnancy. The vast majority of pregnant women seriously ill with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
2) COVID-19 disease can be severe during pregnancy
Although the overall risk remains low, pregnant women with COVID-19 are at higher risk of entering an intensive care unit than women of the same age who are not pregnant. Women with COVID-19 are also 2 to 3 times more likely to have their babies prematurely than women without COVID-19. Pregnant women with underlying clinical conditions are at an even higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19.
3) The COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK are safe and effective for pregnant women
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), which recommended that the UK Government offer the vaccines to pregnant women, is reviewing all available evidence of the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness before making any recommendations on who should receive them.
Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are recommended for pregnant women in the UK because these vaccines have been given to over 140,000 pregnant women in the US and the data do not raise safety concerns. At least 62,000,000 pregnant women in the UK have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with no immediate safety concerns.
However, pregnant women who have already received the AstraZeneca vaccine are recommended to use the same vaccine. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to discuss them with a doctor who will look after you during your pregnancy.
4) The vaccines may offer your unborn child some protection from COVID-19
Research suggests that protective antibodies in response to the vaccines can be transmitted from mother to newborn during pregnancy and through breast milk after birth. While it is likely that these would help protect newborns from COVID-19, more research is needed to determine how much protection these antibodies offer, or how long that protection would last.
5) There is currently no evidence of serious side effects in pregnant women
The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) carefully monitors all suspected side effects related to pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccination.
The current evidence shows no increased risk of miscarriages or stillbirths after vaccination against COVID-19. Nor is there a pattern from the reports to suggest that any of the COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK increase the risk of congenital abnormalities or birth complications.
The vaccines do not contain living organisms that can reproduce in the body, so they cannot infect an unborn baby in the womb.
For more advice, speak to a doctor who will look after you during your pregnancy.
You can also find more information below:
- Additional Resources: The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) and Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have a decision-making guide on obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine and other helpful information available here.
- Additional safety information: The latest information from the MHRA is available here.
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