Vaccine choice for pregnant women welcomed

THE announcement that pregnant women will be offered the Covid-19 vaccine in line with UK vaccine roll out plans has been welcomed by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended offering vaccination to all pregnant women in line with other priority groups, which enables patient choice based on benefits and risks. The Covid-19 vaccination had previously been offered to pregnant women only when their risk of exposure to the virus was high (e.g. health and social care workers) or if underlying conditions placed patients at high risk of Covid-19 complications.

The RCOG presented evidence to the JCVI on the impact of Covid-19 for pregnant women, which was considered along with "robust real-world data" from the US, where around 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated (mainly with mRNA vaccines) without major safety concerns.

Professor Lucy Chappell, consultant obstetrician and Covid-19 vaccine lead for the RCOG, said: "This announcement from the JCVI brings the UK into line with the US and other countries who have been offering the COVID-19 vaccine to pregnant women since December, and should provide reassurance to pregnant women, as well as those planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding, that vaccination is an option for them.

"We are continuing to work with healthcare professionals so they are able to counsel pregnant women on the risks and benefits of having the Covid-19 vaccine based on their individual circumstances.

"We are also advocating for more data collection of pregnant women receiving the vaccine in the UK, and welcome the work that is going on to ensure that there is recording of pregnancy status in the national vaccination programme to enable linkage to outcomes."