The latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) reinforces previous findings on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy
According to UKHSA findings, vaccinated women who gave birth between January and October 2021 had similarly low risks of stillbirth, low birthweight, and premature birth when compared with women who were not vaccinated in pregnancy.
Between January 2021 and September 2021, none of the 235 pregnant women admitted to intensive care with COVID-19 had received two doses of the vaccine. The latest analysis further shows that women who had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy and gave birth between April 2021 and October 2021 were more likely to give birth without any of the reported adverse outcomes (92.9%) than women who had not been vaccinated in pregnancy (91.6%).
While vaccine coverage has been increasing overall, uptake has been slower for certain populations, particularly those of Black ethnicity and those women living in the most deprived areas of England. Just 6.8% of pregnant black women and only 10.2% of pregnant women living in more deprived areas of England had 2 doses, compared with 23.4% of white women and 34.8% living in less deprived areas.
Dr Alison Cave, MHRA Chief Safety Officer, said: ‘The latest data from the UKHSA support the findings of our own rigorous and ongoing safety monitoring of the COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy—that these vaccines are safe and that there is no increased risk of pregnancy complications. There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility and the vaccines can be taken at any time in pregnancy.’
Dr Cave also emphasised that ‘COVID-19 infections can be very severe in pregnancy, particularly if women get infected in the third trimester of pregnancy or if they have underlying medical problems. This can lead to increased rates of stillbirth, as well as complications for the mother’.
Dr Mary Ross-Davie, Director for Professional Midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, agreed: ‘All the evidence is showing that having the vaccine is safe for you and your baby and is the best way to protect you both against this potentially serious, and deadly, virus. Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women across the USA, the UK, and elsewhere have had the vaccine with no harms to them or their baby reported.
‘I urge pregnant women who have not yet been jabbed to go to trusted sources for their information about the vaccination, such as the [Royal College of Midwives] or NHS websites, midwives, and doctors, and not to be influenced by the mass of incorrect misinformation swirling around the internet and social media.
‘It is also particularly important that we work to increase levels of vaccination in pregnant women in communities where the uptake is low. A concerted effort is needed to engage with these women, and to support them with advice and information about the vaccine, about its safety, and about its benefits.’
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