Pregnant women in Britain are now eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, British health authorities announced on Friday, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that showed that about 90,000 pregnant women had been vaccinated in the United States without any health issues.
The new guidance states that women in Britain who are trying to get pregnant, recently gave birth or are breastfeeding could be vaccinated with any available vaccine, but that the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna doses are preferred because “there is more real-world safety data from the U.S.”
Early in the pandemic, Britain had recommended against vaccines for pregnant women, citing a lack of research on side effects, but the country expanded access late last year to women at high risk of serious complications from Covid-19.
Last month, the C.D.C. and the World Health Organization recommended that pregnant women could get vaccinated, but should still consult their doctors. The W.H.O. limits its recommendations to pregnant women at high risk of contracting the coronavirus, including health care workers or those with underlying conditions.
If infected, pregnant women face a heightened risk of severe illness and death. During the pandemic, more pregnant women have experienced complications or delivered stillborn, according to an analysis of 40 studies in 17 countries published in the journal Lancet Global Health last month.
Vaccines are generally considered to be safe, and pregnant women have been urged to be immunized for influenza and other diseases since the 1960s, even in the absence of rigorous clinical trials to test them.