Covid-19 jabs safe in early pregnancy, Norwegian data shows

23 October 2021 - 09:15
Covid-19 vaccinations are safe in early pregnancy, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Covid-19 vaccinations are safe in early pregnancy, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Image: 123RF\milkos

Covid-19 vaccinations do not increase the risk of first-trimester miscarriages in pregnant women new research shows.

Data from nearly 20,000 women in Norway provides further evidence that getting the jab during pregnancy is safe, even early on.

“Our study found no evidence of an increased risk for early pregnancy loss after Covid-19 vaccination and adds to the findings from other reports supporting Covid-19 vaccination during pregnancy,” Prof Deshayne Fell and her co-authors, from Canada’s Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine this week.

They said: “It is important that pregnant women are vaccinated since they have a higher risk of hospitalisations and Covid-19 complications, and their infants are at higher risk of being born too early.

“Also, vaccination during pregnancy is likely to provide protection to the newborn infant against Covid-19 infection in the first months after birth.”

Fell said  the findings were reassuring for women who were vaccinated early in pregnancy.

It is important that pregnant women are vaccinated since they have a higher risk of hospitalisations and Covid-19 complications
Dr Deshayne Fell, an associate professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health in the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine

The scientists analysed data from several Norwegian health registries, between February and August this year, to compare “the proportion of vaccinated women who experienced a miscarriage during the first trimester and women who were still pregnant at the end of the first trimester”.

The percentage of vaccinated women was similar among the 13,956 women with ongoing pregnancies and the 4,521 women with miscarriages, at 5.5% and 5.1% respectively.

The team found “no relationship between the type of vaccine received and miscarriage” and the vaccines used in Norway included Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

In SA, women between 16 and 34 weeks pregnant were informed on April 30 they would be allowed to get the J&J Covid-19 vaccines being rolled out to healthcare workers.

The SA Health Products Regulatory Authority had, until then, excluded women who were pregnant or breastfeeding from participating in the Sisonke implementation study.

With this decision, they aligned to the American college of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Immunisation, Infectious Disease and Public Health Preparedness Expert Work Group, the US Centers for Disease Control and the WHO in recommending the J&J vaccines for use in pregnant and lactating women.

Increasingly, evidence suggests the Covid-19 vaccine is safe for any age.

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