31 December 2020
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) now advise that both the Pfizer and Oxford COVID vaccines can be used during pregnancy if, the benefit of vaccination to protect against COVID-19, outweighs any risks- especially for those with underlying health conditions.
Previous advice for pregnant women and those expected to become pregnant was to not receive any vaccine, as a precaution.
Dr Ivan Muscat said: “There is no known risk of giving non-live vaccines in pregnancy. The Pfizer and Oxford vaccines cannot cause an infection in either the mother or baby. The data available so far does not show any safety concerns in pregnancy.
“The JCVI have advised that these vaccines can be used in pregnancy if the benefits are considered to outweigh possible risks. The risk balance will be made on an individual basis after discussion with GPs or other healthcare professionals.
“This advice is the same for those breastfeeding. Furthermore, there is no need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a vaccination. Neither is there a need for a pregnancy test before vaccination.
“The allergy advice has also changed. Those who have had anaphylaxis to multiple classes of drugs or unexplained anaphylaxis should not be vaccinated with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine but should consider the Oxford vaccine. However, those with other allergies, such as a food allergy, can receive the vaccine.
“As always, those who are allergic to the vaccine components need to avoid receiving the relevant vaccine. Those administering the vaccines will conduct a thorough screen of your medical history to confirm you are safe to receive it.
“This is really good news and means that pregnant and breastfeeding woman can now be protected against COVID-19 if vaccination is considered appropriate. And more people with known allergies are now eligible for COVID vaccination.”