Pregnant patients should be offered coronavirus vaccines at the same rate as the rest of the population, health bosses have said.
Expectant mothers should get their jabs whenever they would otherwise expect to because of their age and clinical risk group, according to new official advice.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said there were “no specific safety concerns” identified with “any brand of Covid-19 vaccines” in relation to pregnancy, but Pfizer and Moderna were preferable, as they have more research data.
Previously, the advice for women has been to discuss having a vaccine with their GP only if their risk of exposure to the virus was high or if they had underlying health conditions putting at higher risk of Covid complications.
Now, the JCVI says data from the US showed around 90,000 pregnant women had received jabs, mainly the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, “without any safety concerns being raised”.
As a result, the JCVI said it was “preferable” for pregnant women in the UK to be offered these two vaccines if available.
But, it said: “There is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women, but more research is needed.”
Professor Wei Shen Lim, Covid-19 chair for 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 are 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), added: “The available data on the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines provide confidence that they can be offered safely to pregnant women.
“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.”