PREGNANT women are now being advised it is safe to receive the Pfizer and Oxford Covid vaccines, as long as ‘the benefits are considered to outweigh possible risks’, it has been announced.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has this week updated its advice, after previously saying that as a precaution pregnant women should not receive the jabs.
The JCVI is also now advising people who have allergies to certain classes of drugs not to have the Pfizer vaccine but instead to consider the Oxford jab, which received approval from regulators this week.
Dr Ivan Muscat, Jersey’s deputy medical officer of health, 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.’
Explaining the change in advice for those with allergies, Dr Muscat added: ‘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.’
Thousands of care-home residents and medical and care staff have already received the first of two Pfizer jabs. The Oxford vaccine is expected to be deployed in the coming days.
Dr Muscat added: ‘This is really good news and means that pregnant and breastfeeding women can now be protected against Covid-19 if vaccination is considered appropriate. And more people with known allergies are now eligible for Covid vaccination.’
By Richard Heath
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