Pregnant women should not be vaccinated, Superior Health Council says
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Pregnant women should not be vaccinated, Superior Health Council says

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Belgium’s Superior Health Council, the scientific advisory body of the Federal Public Health Service, does not recommend systematic vaccination of pregnant women against the coronavirus.

The recommendation is based on the most recent advice from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – UK), as well as limited data from initial safety studies.

While the scientific body advises against the systematic vaccination of pregnant women, it may still be considered on an individual basis “if the benefit-risk balance is favourable to vaccination.”

This could be possible in case of healthcare workers with a high risk of exposure, or women with underlying conditions placing them in a risk group.

The woman’s GP or treating physician would play an essential role in assessing such a risk-benefit analysis, the Superior Health Council stressed.

For people wanting to conceive, there is no objection to vaccination, but delaying the pregnancy would still be the most prudent approach, the recommendation stated. “However, if this is not desirable or not possible, vaccination can still be undertaken.”

Additionally, if pregnancy occurs after receiving the first injection, the second dose will be administered, according to the specific risk-benefit ratio of each individual clinical situation.

“There are currently no data that give cause for concern in this respect,” the Council stressed, adding that being vaccinated is “under no circumstances” a reason to terminate a pregnancy.

Lastly, breastfeeding women can still be vaccinated as it is “unlikely, or even non-existent” that a toxic effect will occur in infants breastfed by a vaccinated mother. “This means that all breastfeeding women can be vaccinated, and continue breastfeeding as they wish.”

In the meantime, Switzerland recently authorised the vaccination of pregnant women with high blood pressure, diabetes or overweight if they want to.

Even though pregnant women are no more likely to get Covid-19 than any other person, once they are infected, they risk a more severe course of the disease, according to Daniel Surbek of the Swiss Gynaecology Committee (SGGG).

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times