Nursing in Practice Autumn 2021 (issue 121) - Page 9

COVID-19 vaccination recommended in pregnancy

Pregnant women gain important protection against COVID-19 through vaccination . These are some key facts to help you support them in their decision .
Current advice The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation ( JCVI ) expert advice is that pregnant women should be offered COVID-19 vaccine alongside non-pregnant women . The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives strongly recommend COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy ( rcog . org . uk ). Most pregnant women will have the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccine and there is extensive experience with these vaccines in pregnancy . Women who had a first dose of AstraZeneca are advised to complete their course with the same vaccine and side effects less common after the second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine . There is no signal of any problems specifically related to COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy , for other side effects see www . nhs . uk / conditions / coronavirus-covid-19 / coronavirus-vaccination / safety-andside-effects /.
The vaccines can be given at any time in pregnancy but need at least 8 weeks between doses . Ideally women should have their second dose before the third trimester as this is when COVID-19 disease can be more serious .
COVID-19 vaccination is important in pregnant women The highest rates of disease are currently seen in young people under 40 years where vaccine uptake is not yet as high as older age groups . Pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19 are 2 to 3 times more likely to have a preterm birth and a small proportion of pregnant women can have severe or fatal COVID-19 . It is important they are protected .
Vaccine protection Two doses of COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK have been shown to reduce infection and disease and to be highly effective against hospital admission and death . There are also UK data showing protection against symptoms of long COVID . Early data suggest mRNA COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy reduce the risk of infection .
References
Vaccine Pregnancy Registry | CDC : www . cdc . gov / coronavirus / 2019-ncov / vaccines / safety / vsafepregnancyregistry . html
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists : www . rcog . org . uk / en / guidelines-research-services / coronavirus-covid-19-pregnancy-and-womens-health / covid- 19-vaccines-and-pregnancy /
Vaccine safety in pregnancy COVID-19 vaccines we use are inactivated and there is no known risk with giving inactivated vaccines during pregnancy or whilst breast-feeding . These vaccines cannot reproduce and therefore cannot cause COVID-19 in the mother or the baby .
The vaccines stay at the injection site where they are taken up by immune cells and break down over a few days . The antibodies produced cross the placenta and into breast milk and may help protect babies from birth .
Additional studies are underway but available data do not indicate any harm in pregnancy . There is extensive experience with Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in the USA ( where over 150,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated Vaccine Pregnancy Registry | CDC ) and Israel and increasing use of these vaccines , together with more limited use of AstraZeneca vaccine , in the UK where over 70,000 women who were pregnant or could be pregnant have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine ( COVID-19 vaccine surveillance reports - GOV . UK ( www . gov . uk ) and COVID-19 Statistical Report – 1 September 2021 – COVID-19 statistical report – Publications – Public Health Scotland ). The use of these vaccines is continually monitored with no pregnancy-related safety concerns so far . Pregnant women should be informed of other possible side effects www . nhs . uk / conditions / coronavirus-covid-19 / coronavirus-vaccination / safety-and-side-effects
COVID-19 vaccines and fertility There is good evidence that COVID-19 vaccines do not cause male or female infertility COVID-19 vaccine Q & A : fertility , pregnancy and breastfeeding | British Society for Immunology
COVID-19 : the green book : www . gov . uk / government / publications / covid-19-the-green-book-chapter-14a
COVID-19 vaccine Q & A : www . immunology . org / coronavirus / connect-coronavirus-publicengagement-resources / covidvaccine-fertility-pregnancy
Protect yourself and your pregnancy