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In a new twist, WHO now claims that pregnant women can safely receive the COVID-19 vaccine

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This is an update in the guide on everything you need to know about Moderna’s vaccine against COVID-19 and also points to that of Pfizer / BioNTech

In a new twist, the World Health Organization (WHO) this Friday updated its guide “The Moderna COVID-19 (mRNA-1273) vaccine: what you need to know”, one of the inoculations that together with Pfizer / BioNTech is available in the United States, and changed its position on immunization for most pregnant women unless they are at high risk.

The recommendation that pregnant women be vaccinated came after a protest against the entity’s previous position, which stated that “they do not recommend vaccinating pregnant women with the vaccines manufactured by the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.”

Several experts had expressed their disappointment days ago with the previous position of the WHO. American specialists pointed out that it was an incompatibility with the guidance given by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and thus confused pregnant women in search of clear advice.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, although not tested in pregnant women, have not shown any harmful effects in animal studies. And in general, it is known that the technology used in vaccines (messenger RNA) is safe.

In the new update, WHO benchmarks wondered should pregnant women be vaccinated? “While pregnancy puts women at increased risk of severe COVID-19, there is very little data available to assess the safety of the vaccine during pregnancy,” they warned in the brand new guide.

“Nevertheless, based on what we know about this kind of vaccine, we don’t have any specific reason to believe there will be specific risks that would outweigh the benefits of vaccination for pregnant women,” as added in the document.

“For this reason, those pregnant women at high risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (e.g. health workers) or who have comorbidities which add to their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated in consultation with their health care provider.”

As The New York Times learned, experts praised the change and welcomed agreement among the world’s leading public health organizations on this important issue.

“I was very pleased to see that WHO changed its direction regarding offering the COVID-19 vaccine to pregnant women,” said Dr Denise Jamieson, obstetrician at Emory University and a member of the expert group at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The partnership was among the many women’s health organizations that had urged Pfizer and Moderna to accelerate vaccine testing in pregnant women.

“WHO’s most permissive language provides an important opportunity for pregnant women to get vaccinated and protect themselves from the serious risks of COVID-19,” Dr Jamieson said.

“This impressively fast WHO review is good news for pregnant women and their babies.”

Traditionally, pregnant women have been excluded from clinical trials, leaving a dearth of scientific data on the safety of drugs and vaccines in women and their unborn children. In general, vaccines are considered safe, and pregnant women have been urged to get vaccinated against influenza and other diseases since the 1960s, even in the absence of rigorous clinical trials to test them.

Pfizer announced at the time that it will test its vaccine in pregnant women in the next few months, a company spokeswoman said, while Moderna explained that it plans to establish a registry to observe side effects in women who were immunized with its vaccine.

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