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COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy

News 17 December 2020

Please note updated guidance was issued by the JCVI on 30 December 2020, read it here

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a new type of vaccine that has been shown to be effective and to have a good safety profile. It has not yet been assessed in pregnancy so the government, through the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), have advised that until more information is available, those who are pregnant should not have this vaccine.

Commenting on this news, Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:

 “A range of vaccines are routinely and safely offered during pregnancy but as specific clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women have not yet been carried out, there isn’t sufficient evidence to recommend the routine use of COVID-19 vaccines to pregnant or breast feeding women.

“Women planning a pregnancy within three months of receiving the first dose are also being advised not to have the vaccine, but this is precautionary advice until we have information from research studies in pregnancy.

“We recognise this will have a large impact on women who are pregnant, and those planning their pregnancy. That’s why, along with the Royal College of Midwives, we’re calling on the UK government to fund research studies to establish the suitability of any approved COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant and breastfeeding women. 

"The UK has a world leading research and development sector to support a national effort to research the vaccine’s suitability for use in pregnancy and we are calling for research trials, supported by the Vaccine Taskforce, to begin urgently to get evidence on safety. The outcomes of this research will be vital for the over 800,000 women each year who conceive, as well as the many women planning a pregnancy.

“In the meantime, we continue to urge pregnant women to follow government advice about social distancing and to get their free flu vaccination to protect them and their baby against flu this winter.”

Read our Q&As for pregnant women on COVID-19 vaccines, pregnancy and breastfeeding

Public Health England have published a range of documents about the COVID-19 vaccination programme, including information for women of childbearing age, currently pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding.  

Notes to Editors

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