The Covid vaccination recommendation for pregnant women has not changed, health officials have insisted on responding in response to false claims on social media.
A government safety document, which appeared to be updated this month, said: “At this time, no adequate assurance can be given on the safe use of the vaccine in pregnant women”.
Celebrity jab-hesitant zealots, including former footballer Matt Le Tissier, called for fresh advice that the group “shouldn’t take the jabs”.
But ministers have hit back at the claims, which were based on an old document that Pfizer had submitted to the drug regulator.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health told MailOnline: “The government, clinical and independent advice have not changed.
Speaking on behalf of Health Secretary Steve Barclay (pictured), a Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) told MailOnline advice on vaccinating pregnant women against Covid has not changed
Analysts from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate that around 1.2 million had the virus on any given day in England in the week ending August 16. Cases fell 15 percent from the previous week
“Covid vaccines are safe and highly effective for both pregnant and breastfeeding women.
“This is underpinned by extensive real-world data, including global analysis outside of clinical trials and healthcare.
“We are doing everything we can to encourage eligible women to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their babies from Covid.”
The false information came from a document originally released in December 2020.
The report included a summary of the data that Pfizer sent to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for approval.
But the MHRA updated the documents on Aug. 16 with new information about adults receiving a different booster dose from the brand of vaccine they received for their first two shots.
Social media users quickly spotted the pregnancy section, which also said, “Neither should breastfeeding women be vaccinated.”
Data were collected from December 2020, before the vaccine was approved and tested in pregnant women. Expectant mothers were not included in the initial studies, which is the standard protocol for vaccines and other drugs.
Since then, independent studies on more than 315,000 women have shown that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe during pregnancy.
No increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, congenital abnormalities, or health problems in babies has been identified.
The overwhelming evidence led to a change in the recommendation of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) in April last year.
However, uptake has remained sluggish among expectant mothers.
This is despite data clearly suggesting that Covid can increase the risk of complications in pregnancy.
The MHRA insisted the new data, which is not in the Pfizer document, “supports updated advice” encouraging women to get vaccinated.
dr Victoria Male, an immunologist at Imperial College London, tried to debunk the rumors on social media before the government responded.
She said Pfizer hasn’t added any new pregnancy advice since December 2020, so “it still says the same thing it did back then.”
She tweeted: “If you are pregnant in the UK the NHS strongly recommends that you receive the Covid vaccine if you are not already protected.
‘The Council hasn’t changed!’
The JCVI recommends that pregnant women should be offered two doses of vaccine and one booster dose.
None of the vaccines contain live coronavirus and cannot infect pregnant women or their unborn child in the womb.
An MHRA spokesman said: “The text referenced in the social media posts is from the Public Assessment Report (PAR) summarizing our assessment at the time the vaccine was approved (2 December 2020).
“Since then, significant new data has been generated (both non-clinical and post-authorisation “real world” data) that led to the updated recommendation that vaccines should be offered to pregnant and breastfeeding women.
“See the Summary of Product Characteristics and our Yellow Card COVID-19 vaccine reporting for our latest advice, stating the vaccines are safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.”
The truth about Covid vaccines and pregnancy: Should I get a vaccine if I’m pregnant?
What is the latest advice on Covid vaccination and pregnancy?
Covid-19 vaccines are strongly recommended during pregnancy.
On December 16, 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) announced that pregnant women are now considered a “vulnerable” group in the vaccination program.
It stressed the urgency that they receive a COVID-19 vaccination and booster doses.
Are vaccinations usually used during pregnancy?
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are routinely and safely offered vaccinations during pregnancy, for example to protect against influenza (flu) and whooping cough.
Many of these vaccines also protect their babies from infection.
These vaccines, like the COVID-19 vaccines, are non-live vaccines that are generally considered safe in pregnancy.
Is vaccination safe for pregnant women and their babies?
Robust real-world data in the US — where over 200,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated primarily with mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna — have raised no safety concerns.
For this reason, the JCVI recommends that it is preferable to offer either Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines to pregnant women in the UK, where available.
The UKHSA and Public Health Scotland have reported that well over 100,000 pregnant women in England and Scotland have received a Covid vaccine with no serious side effects detected.
Covid vaccines do not contain ingredients known to be harmful to pregnant women or a developing baby.
Studies of the vaccines in animals to examine the effects on pregnancy have not revealed any evidence that the vaccines are harmful to pregnancy or fertility
Can the vaccine boost immunity in babies?
Studies have shown that protective antibodies developed through vaccination can be transmitted from mother to baby via the placenta and through breast milk after birth, supporting the baby’s immunity to Covid.
The degree of protection this offers the baby is not known at this time and more research is needed.
Source: The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists