Pregnant woman sitting on a yoga mat.

Guidelines have changed for pregnant women, and the vaccine will be made available for certain groups of expectant mums.

Initially, government guidance was that pregnant and breastfeeding women should not have the Covid-19 vaccine as there was insufficient evidence around its use for these groups.

But The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published updated guidance on Covid-19 vaccines and pregnancy on 30 December 2020. They confirmed that there is not enough evidence to recommended routine use of Covid-19 vaccines during pregnancy, but that there are no known safety concerns.

They therefore advised that certain groups of pregnant women should consider having the vaccination.

So, will I get the vaccine?

The JCVI advise that pregnant women who are clinically extremely vulnerable should consider having a Covid-19 vaccine during pregnancy. This is because their underlying condition puts them at a higher risk of experiencing serious complications of Covid-19.

They also advise that pregnant women who are frontline health or social care workers, including carers in residential homes, discuss the option of vaccination. This is because their risk of exposure to Covid-19 is higher. This Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) info sheet gives guidance on which groups of pregnant women can have the vaccine at the moment.

A health professional will discuss the benefits and risks of vaccination in pregnancy on an individual basis, to help you make an informed decision.

Further information can be found on the RCOG website.

I’ve read on a forum that I shouldn’t have the vaccine – is this true?

You may find the decision on whether or not to get vaccinated an emotional and difficult one to make. But be aware that many messages on online and other forums are based on individual opinion and not on scientific evidence.

Speak to a health professional about the vaccine to get up-to-date and reliable guidance. You may find this information sheet from the RCOG showing the benefits and risks of a Covid-19 vaccination while pregnant useful.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (December 2020) https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/news/updated-advice-on-covid-19-vaccination-in-pregnancy-and-women-who-are-breastfeeding/

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