WHO Recommends Against Moderna, Pfizer Vaccines for Most Pregnant Women
By Sarah Toy
The World Health Organization released new guidance about
Moderna Inc.'s Covid-19 vaccine this week, recommending generally
against the use of the vaccine during pregnancy except in those at
high risk of exposure or having a severe case.
"In the interim, WHO recommends not to use mRNA-1273 in
pregnancy, unless the benefit of vaccinating a pregnant woman
outweighs the potential vaccine risks, such as in health workers at
high risk of exposure and pregnant women with co-morbidities
placing them in a high-risk group for severe Covid-19," the
guidance said. The agency said its recommendations would be updated
as more data become available.
The recommendation echoes guidance for Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech
SE's vaccine released earlier this month. The WHO said it doesn't
recommend pregnancy testing before vaccination, nor does it
recommend delaying pregnancy following vaccination. The WHO does
recommend that lactating women be offered the vaccines, saying that
the shots are unlikely to pose a risk to breast-feeding
Covid-19 mRNA vaccines aren't made from live virus, and the
mRNA, or messenger RNA -- named after the molecular couriers that
deliver genetic instructions -- doesn't itself enter the cell's
nucleus and is degraded quickly, the WHO said. Developmental and
reproductive toxicology studies in animals haven't shown any
harmful effects, the WHO added.
At the same time, there aren't enough data on actual pregnant
people to assess the vaccine's effectiveness or risk in pregnancy,
the agency said. Pregnant women should be given information and
counseling on the lack of safety and efficacy data, it said.
Neither Moderna nor Pfizer enrolled pregnant women in their
Covid-19 vaccine trials. Moderna says it plans to establish a
registry to study pregnancy outcomes in mothers and infants. Pfizer
says it intends to start a maternal vaccine study in the
Research has shown that pregnant women are at higher risk of
having a severe case of Covid-19 than those who aren't pregnant,
and Covid-19 may be associated with a higher risk of preterm
delivery. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says
pregnant people may choose to be vaccinated if they wish, adding
that a conversation with a patient's clinical team can help.
Write to Sarah Toy at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 27, 2021 14:33 ET (19:33 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.