Pregnant women should be offered Covid-19 vaccination, but preferably either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna jab, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said.
The committee said no specific safety concerns had been identified with any brand of Covid-19 vaccines in relation to pregnancy.
However, it is recommending offering the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines where available because there is a large amount of real-world data on these brands being used by pregnant women, which is not the case for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Pregnant women should be invited for vaccination in line with their age and clinical risk group and should not be prioritised based on being pregnant, said the JCVI.
In line with previous advice from Public Health England, pregnant women should continue to discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their clinician, including the latest evidence on safety and which vaccines they should receive.
The JCVI noted real-world data from the US show that around 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated, mainly with mRNA vaccines – including Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – without any safety concerns being raised.
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.’
He added: ‘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.’
In January the JCVI updated its advice to say pregnant women with a ‘high’ risk of exposure to Covid-19 should consider being vaccinated, as should those with underlying conditions that put them at very high risk of serious complications from the virus.
It said at the time that clinicians should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with women, ‘who should be told about the absence of safety data for the vaccine in pregnant women’.