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The Covid-19 vaccine during pregnancy

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Now the Covid vaccine is nearly with us I’m frequently being asked whether pregnant women should go ahead and get vaccinated as soon as they can. Well, this may come as a shock to you all but I actually agree with my professional body on this one.

The Royal Australian and NZ College of O and G (RANZCOG) recently stated:

“Although the available data do not indicate any safety concern or harm to pregnancy, there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine use of Covid-19 vaccines during pregnancy.”

Fair enough. RANZCOG goes on to say that you should consider the vaccine if you have underlying medical complications that place you at high risk of experiencing serious complications of Covid-19. I agree with that but I would also add front line health care (or immigration/hotel) workers.

A recent study published in the American Journal of O and G (AJOG) showed – for the first time, I believe – that pregnant women are more likely to contract Covid than non-pregnant age matched people. In this population – Washington State – the rate of Covid infection amongst pregnant women was 1.4 percent compared to 0.7 percent for non-pregnant people (i.e., double).

We also know that Covid infection particularly in the second and third trimester can cause severe illness and that in turn can have implications for the baby; usually preterm birth.

Now the reason for caution with vaccination is that we are incredibly lucky in Australia. The simple fact is that rates of Covid in Australia are so low we have the luxury of waiting for more data regarding the vaccine(s). I know at least one clinical trial is underway overseas looking solely at vaccinating pregnant women.

Putting it another way if you are reading this from the US or UK or Canada or, um, pretty much anywhere except Australia and New Zealand just have the vaccine. Any vaccine. As soon as you can. There is no evidence it will do harm and it may save your life… and your baby’s life.

Stay safe.

Rob

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