Pregnant women advised not to take Moderna Covid vaccine by World Health Organisation

By Iain Leggat
Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 2:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th January 2021, 3:30 pm
Pregnant women advised not to take Moderna jab by World Health Organisation (Photo: Shutterstock)
Pregnant women advised not to take Moderna jab by World Health Organisation (Photo: Shutterstock)

Pregnant women have been advised not to have the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, unless they are at risk of high exposure, in new guidance published by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Only pregnant women who are at high exposure to the virus, such as healthcare workers, should consider getting the vaccine, according to experts.

The guidance states: “The vaccine can be offered to a breastfeeding woman who is part of a group recommended for vaccination (e.g. health workers); discontinuing breastfeeding after vaccination is currently not recommended.”

Are the other vaccines safe for pregnant women?

The Moderna vaccine is due to arrive in the UK by spring. The UK Government has purchased 17 million doses, enough to vaccinate 8.5 million people.

Pregnant women were previously given the green light to take either the Oxford/AstraZeneca or the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Initial advice said that pregnant and breastfeeding women can take either of the two approved vaccines “when the potential benefits outweigh the risks”. However, after further data analysis, the MHRA said the vaccine could be administered to a pregnant woman “following an individual discussion with every woman”.

Guidance published by Oxford University and AstraZeneca in December said preliminary animal studies with their vaccine did not indicate direct or indirect harmful effects for pregnancy, embryo-foetal development, childbirth or postnatal development.

‘Safe and effective’

The latest guidance also confirmed that the Moderna vaccine has been shown to have an efficacy of approximately 92 per cent in protecting against Covid-19.

WHO officials have said the two dose vaccine should be administered with an interval of 28 days between each jab. The interval can be extended to 42 days, if necessary.

The new guidance, which was published on the WHO’s official website, said that the Covid vaccine is “safe and effective” in people with known medical conditions associated with increased risk of severe disease. This includes hypertension, diabetes, asthma, pulmonary, liver or kidney disease, as well as chronic infections that are stable and controlled.