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Corona protection : Pregnant women can also be vaccinated

A vaccination against Covid-19 is possible for pregnant women, provided it is done in close consultation with a doctor and after weighing the individual benefits and risks. This is the result of a commission of experts headed by the German Society for Perinatal Medicine (DGPM).

The statements apply to immunization with the vaccines from Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna. The vaccination can therefore take place “within the framework of informed, participatory decision-making”. Vaccination is strongly recommended for women who wish to have a child.

Under the direction of the DGPM, several specialist societies from gynecology, perinatology, endocrinology and reproductive medicine and the resident gynecologists have commented on this in a joint statement.

The assessment does not refer to the AstraZeneca vaccine, as it has only just been approved. However, the physician Michael Abou-Dakn from the DGPM board assumes that this conventional vector vaccine can be used in pregnant women. The assessment of the mRNA vaccines from Biontech and Moderna had become necessary because it is a completely new process, the effects of which have not yet been investigated, explained Michael Abou-Dakn to the Tagesspiegel.

Vaccination for pregnant women who are at high risk

The experts cannot generally recommend the use of mRNA vaccines from Biontech and Moderna to pregnant women. But especially pregnant women with previous illnesses, a high risk of a severe course of Covid-19 - such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, from the age of 35 - or a high risk of infection could be offered the vaccination.

"In the personal consultation, both the individual and pregnancy-specific risks of a Sars-CoV-2 infection, as well as the lack of long-term studies and the individual risks and benefits of a Covid-19 vaccination should be discussed." In particular, close contact persons, in particular their partners, as well as midwives and doctors, are preferably vaccinated.

A general vaccination of all pregnant women is currently not supported by the majority of the specialist societies because reliable and detailed data on the use of mRNA vaccines in pregnancy are not yet available.

The vaccine manufacturer Moderna has ruled out adverse effects on female fertility, embryonic / fetal or postnatal development in animal experiments, studies by Pfizer-Biontech have not yet been completed.

No unusual side effects expected

With all due caution, the experts, considering the available findings, come to the conclusion that protection against Covid-19 for pregnant women with the same high degree of vaccination effectiveness can be assumed as has been shown in previous studies for non-pregnant women could. Nor is it expected that the profile of side effects of vaccination will differ between pregnant women and non-pregnant women. "However, pregnant women should not be excluded from vaccination programs in principle," the statement said.

The Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) at the Robert Koch Institute also does not recommend a general vaccination of pregnant women because there are no study data specifically on the vaccination of this group. Pregnant women with previous illnesses and a high risk of severe Covid 19 disease can be offered a vaccination in individual cases after risk-benefit assessment and detailed information, writes Stiko in its latest report.

A vaccination during an as yet unknown pregnancy is also no reason for an abortion. The Stiko also considers it unlikely that vaccination of the mother during breastfeeding poses a risk to the infant.

WHO emphasizes benefits of vaccination

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pregnant women and nursing mothers should only be vaccinated if they are at high risk of infection, for example if they work in the health sector.

Here, too, vaccination is not categorically excluded. In particular, if a complicated corona course is to be expected in a pregnant woman, the advantages of vaccination protection would outweigh the potential vaccination risks.

The Israeli Gynecologists' Association, which already has a lot of experience with vaccination, comes to a similar conclusion. A Covid 19 disease can cause damage during pregnancy, trigger a more severe course of the disease and premature births.

The corona vaccine is no more dangerous than other vaccines that are given during pregnancy.

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