World Health Organization (WHO) experts on Tuesday said the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should not be used for pregnant women unless they are at risk of high exposure.
“The vaccine can be offered to a breastfeeding woman who is part of a group recommended for vaccination (e.g. health workers),” the WHO said.
The WHO earlier this month gave similar assessments on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, citing insufficient data.
“While pregnancy puts women at a higher risk of severe COVID-19, the use of this vaccine in pregnant women is currently not recommended, unless they are at risk of high exposure,” the official WHO status report released Tuesday reads.
Experts now advise people who are pregnant to avoid receiving the Moderna vaccine unless they are health-care workers in a facility treating COVID-19 patients, or if they have a medical condition that would put them at a higher risk of COVID-19 fatality.
However, in a virtual briefing held by the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, or SAGE, from their headquarters in Geneva, their director of immunization, Kate O’Brien, stressed their overall confidence in the therapy.
“There is no reason to think there could be a problem in pregnancy, we are just acknowledging the data is not there at the moment,” O’Brien said, according to a Reuters report.
Officially, health experts are also asking clinics to plan a second dose of the Moderna vaccine within 28 days of the first, though the gap in-between shots may ultimately be extended up to 42 days.
Currently, they recommend the vaccine “should be given in doses of 100 micrograms or 0.5 ml with an interval of 28 days,” said Alejandro Cravioto, a WHO panel chair, from Mexico.
“This interval might be moved to 42 days but the evidence we have does not go beyond that time,” said Cravioto.
The WHO said they would continue working closely with Moderna to establish safety regarding their vaccine on pregnant people.
Studies have shown that Moderna’s vaccine has demonstrated 92% efficacy in staving off COVID-19 by two weeks after the first dose, and it is believed to be effective against more recent SARS-CoV-2 variants, according to WHO.
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