Vaccine side effects: Results of probe linking pregnancy loss to Covid jab announced

Dr Amir Khan urges pregnant women to get vaccinated

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Since the rollout of the Covid vaccines in late 2020, many expecting mothers have been hesitant to take the jab in fear of possible side effects. According to a survey by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) earlier this year, pregnant women appeared to be split right down the middle on whether or not they would take the vaccine. Of the 1,300 pregnant women surveyed, 844 had already been offered the jab but only 42 had accepted.

And of the 502 women who were still waiting for the offer, only 40 percent said they would “definitely or probably” accept the vaccine.

About 41 percent said they would decline the offer and 18 percent said they were undecided.

More than half of the women who rejected the vaccine – about 65 percent – said they were worried about the potential side effects it could have on their babies.

And 57 percent said they were waiting to learn more about the jabs’ safety.

The wait could now be over thanks to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Covid-19 Vaccination during Pregnancy and First-Trimester Miscarriage | NEJM

The study investigated a number of health registries in Norway to compare the proportion of vaccinated women who lost their pregnancy in the first trimester, compared to women who were still pregnant at the end of the three month period.

According to the paper’s findings, there was no evidence of a link between the two.

Dr Deshayne Fell, an Associate Professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa, said: “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.

“The findings are reassuring for women who were vaccinated early in pregnancy and support the growing evidence that COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy is safe.”

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The researchers also found no correlation between the types of available vaccines and miscarriage.

In Norway, the three vaccines on offer are Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

All three vaccines are administered in two shots.

According to the study’s authors, it is critical that pregnant women are aware of the safety and efficacy of the Covid vaccines.

Health officials have stressed throughout the past year that vaccines are our best shot at protecting people from severe Covid and hospitalisation.

There is also some evidence to suggest being vaccinated during pregnancy will offer some protection against the coronavirus to the newborn child in the first few months of their life.

The study’s authors wrote: “It is important that pregnant women are vaccinated since they have a higher risk of hospitalizations 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.”

In June, the RCOG and The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) urged pregnant women to talk to health professionals about the vaccines and any concerns they may have.

Dr Pat O’Brien, consultant obstetrician and Vice President of the RCOG, said: “We understand this is a very challenging time for those who are pregnant as they don’t only have themselves to think about but also their baby, but we want to reassure them that vaccination in pregnancy is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19, which can be more serious in pregnant women, particularly in their third trimester.

“One of the barriers pregnant women have told us they’ve faced when making a decision has been whether they are able to discuss the vaccine with a healthcare professional.

“It is critical that all healthcare professionals feel confident discussing the options with those who are pregnant so they can make an informed choice based on their individual circumstances.”

In the UK, more than 49.55 million people have already received the first dose of their vaccine, and more than 45.46 million have had their second dose.

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