Do pregnant women get Covid-19 booster vaccines?

22 September 2021

We have been asked on WhatsApp whether pregnant women will be prioritised for booster Covid-19 vaccines, and what the current guidance is. 

Decisions around the booster programme are still evolving. At the time of writing, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises the government on immunisation, has said, priority groups 1 to 9 should be offered a Covid-19 booster vaccine at least six months after receiving their second dose of Covid-19 vaccine. This includes: 

  • People living in residential care homes for older adults
  • Adults aged 50 years or over
  • Frontline health and social care workers
  • People aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19
  • Adult carers
  • People experiencing homelessness
  • Adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

There are special recommendations for individuals who are themselves immunosuppressed. 

Some pregnant women therefore, may fall into the eligible groups described above. Public Health England has told Full Fact that there aren’t separate or specialised booster recommendations for pregnant women. This means the same recommendations regarding the type of booster would apply.

At present, pregnant women (who do not meet the criteria above) are not included in the recommended groups for boosters, however, the JCVI has said that this is under “further consideration”. 

Dr Pat O’Brien, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist and Vice President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists told Full Fact: “We encourage all pregnant women who are eligible to get the COVID-19 booster vaccine, to ensure that their protection against COVID-19 is maintained to a high level.” 

The JCVI has “expressed a preference for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as a booster dose”, or a half dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine as an alternative, regardless of which brand or type of vaccine individuals had originally. 

Dr. O’Brien added: “Women who had the AstraZeneca vaccine initially are advised that they can have the Pfizer or Moderna booster vaccine as their third dose.”

The information included in this article contains the latest evidence and official guidance available at the time it was written. This is not a substitute for medical advice. If you require specific medical advice please consult your GP or midwife.

 

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