GPs told to cancel planned AstraZeneca Covid vaccine for pregnant women

GPs should cancel all planned AstraZeneca vaccinations for pregnant women, NHS England has said.

Pregnant patients should instead be given the Pfizer or Moderna jab, it wrote in a letter sent out to practices.

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It comes after the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said on Friday that pregnant women should now be offered the Covid jab.

NHS England is still encouraging pregnant women to get the jab – just not the AstraZeneca vaccine.

It said in its letter that "all vaccination sites should implement screening procedures" to better identify pregnancies in patients.

And if a mum-to-be has already received her first dose of any vaccine – including the AstraZeneca vaccine – a second dose should "continue as planned".

This is in line with the Green Book, which states that if "a woman finds out she is pregnant after she has started a course of vaccine, she may complete vaccination during pregnancy using the same vaccine product (unless contra-indicated)".

GPs should still discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with each pregnant woman presenting for the jab, the letter said, and where necessary the person should be redirected to an obstetrician, midwife or GP team for further guidance, Pulse reports.

NHS England said pregnant women should be redirected to a PCN site if there is no available alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine for them.

It also advised PCN sites to vaccinate eligible mums-to-be with the Pfizer vaccine through excess supply from second dose clinics.

It comes after the JCVI guidance advised that it was "preferable" for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines where available.

It said in a statement on Friday: "There have been no specific safety concerns identified with any brand of coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines in relation to pregnancy.

"Real-world data from the United States shows that around 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated, mainly with mRNA vaccines including Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, without any safety concerns being raised."

The JCVI added that there is "no evidence" to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women, but said ‘more research is needed’. 

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