Pregnant people are still not getting vaccinated against Covid - Ars Technica
Jan 16, 2022 2 mins, 12 secs

According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of January 1, just over 40 percent of pregnant people in the United States between age 18 and 49 were fully vaccinated prior to pregnancy or during their pregnancy, compared with 66 percent of the general population over the age of 5.

At the end of 2021, the UK’s vaccine watchdog, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, announced that pregnant women would be made a priority group for vaccination, after reams of research has shown just how vulnerable the group is to Covid. .

A study released this month from the CDC of more than 46,000 pregnant women showed that vaccination did not increase the risk of delivering preterm or smaller babies.

Public health bodies in different parts of the world have repeatedly changed tack: First the vaccines weren’t offered to pregnant people.

It took a full eight months after vaccines first became available for them to be recommended to pregnant people in the US. .

A survey conducted by the company at which Shah works, Maven Clinic, asked 500 nationally representative pregnant people in the US about why they were not vaccinated.

Over 60 percent simply did not know that getting vaccinated was recommended during pregnancy.

(Even today, the webpage concerning the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency’s public assessment of the Pfizer vaccine currently warns that “sufficient reassurance of safe use of the vaccine in pregnant women cannot be provided at the present time” and that women who are breastfeeding should also not be vaccinated—both untrue.).

Another survey of pregnant people in the UK conducted by Pregnant Then Screwed, a maternity campaign charity, found that over 40 percent said they had been made to question the safety of the vaccine by health professionals. .

This pandemic has been no different: A 2021 study in The Lancet found that three-quarters of trials for Covid-19 treatments and vaccines explicitly excluded pregnant women.

That we needed to prioritize pregnant people for vaccination should never have been a surprise, says Male

After the Zika virus epidemic, a group called Prevent was set up by academics to devise guidelines for the ethical inclusion of pregnant people in vaccine trials during a public health emergency

(The acronym stands for the Pregnancy Research Ethics for Vaccines, Epidemics, and New Technologies working group.) Guidelines included clear and contextualized communication of vaccine efficacy to pregnant people, as well as evidence-based strategies to encourage vaccine confidence among this cohort. 

“If we ever end up in another situation like this, I think if we think that pregnant people are going to need to be vaccinated, then we do need to include them in the trials,” she says


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