Maternity Royal Colleges welcome moves to improve access to COVID vaccine for pregnant women
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) have welcomed moves to ensure pregnant women are able to get the right COVID-19 vaccination.
This follows an announcement last week by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority, that all people under 40 should be offered an alternative to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. In April, the JCVI had also said that all pregnant women should be offered an alternative to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine when they are in the right age cohort to be offered a vaccination.
Dr Mary Ross-Davie, Director for Professional Midwifery at the RCM, said: “It is great that the NHS is moving quickly to make sure women can get the right vaccine, and is making this possible via the national booking system. We urge pregnant women who want to have the vaccine to keep checking the system if local centres aren’t immediately available.
“The NHS and vaccination staff are working really hard to ensure that everything will be in place so that the booking process is smoother, information is better, and availability of the right vaccine is there for women.”
The NHS has been working hard to ensure the vaccines women need are available. To offer additional support for pregnant women NHS Digital have this week announced that that there will be an ‘Are you Pregnant’ button on the national COVID-19 booking site. Through the site women will be able to book to have the appropriate vaccine and see tailored information and advice about the vaccines. This is in addition to pregnant women being able to access an appropriate vaccination via their GP and hospital maternity teams.
Dr Pat O’Brien, Vice President at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “We are pleased the NHS has recognised the importance of making sure pregnant women can access the right vaccine and have made swift moves to adapt the booking system so it accommodates their needs.
“We would encourage all pregnant women who are offered the COVID-19 vaccine to discuss the benefits and risks, including the side effects, with a healthcare professional. Vaccination continues to offer pregnant women the best protection from COVID-19, which can be serious in some women.”
The RCM has developed two COVID-19 vaccination professional briefings for midwives, which can be accessed here: https://www.rcm.org.uk/rcm-professional-clinical-guidance-briefings/ .
RCM information for pregnant women about the vaccination is here: https://www.rcm.org.uk/guidance-for-pregnant-women/.
The RCOG have developed a range of information on our website for healthcare professionals and pregnant women eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare has released the following statement on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, combined hormonal contraception and blood clots.
The Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists (ARCS) and British Fertility Society (BFS) U.K. statement on Covid-19 vaccine from 9th April 2021 can be viewed here.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have advised that all people under the age of 40 should be offered an alternative to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. The announcement last week follows news on the 9 April 2021 that all under-30s should be offered either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, due to the evidence linking the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine to rare blood clots more often in this age group.
On 16 April 2021, the JCVI announced it would be routinely offering all pregnant women the COVID-19 vaccine as real-world data from the US – where around 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated mainly with mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna – have not raised any safety concerns. The Committee advised that pregnant women in the UK should be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA where available.
The statements from JCVI and MHRA have consistently made it clear that the risk of an extremely rare adverse event of concurrent thrombosis (blood clots) and thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) following vaccination is not directly linked to increased prothrombotic risks. Although younger women who are pregnant, recently pregnant, or on fertility treatment are all at increased thrombotic risk, the lack of a clear direct association between a thrombotic risk and the likelihood of this extremely rare adverse event should be considered.
The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences, and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website.
The RCOG is a medical charity that champions the provision of high-quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision.