Can pregnant women get the Covid booster jab? Vaccination rules explained as JCVI issues new advice

Pregnant women have been moved to the front of the vaccine queue following new advice from the JCVI

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Pregnant women are being urged to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as possible as they are at an increased risk of serious disease.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has said women who are pregnant should be prioritised for jabs and regarded as a high risk group for coronavirus.

Is Covid severe in pregnancy?

The updated guidance comes as the government advisory team said there was “growing evidence showing that women who are pregnant are at increased risk of serious consequences from Covid-19”.

The majority of pregnant women who have been admitted to hospital with severe illness from coronavirus have been unvaccinated, and new data has shown 34 women have died in the UK after contracting the virus while pregnant.

Four newborn babies have also died where medics cited Covid-19 as the cause.

While the overall risk from Covid-19 in pregnant women and their babies is low, research suggests in later pregnancy some women may become seriously unwell and need hospital treatment.

Women who contract coronavirus are also more likely to have their babies early than women who have not been infected, while those with underlying clinical conditions are at higher risk of suffering serious complications from Covid-19.

As such, the JCVI is now recommending that pregnant women are prioritised for Covid-19 vaccination in an effort to boost the number of women completing their primary doses.

Can pregnant women get the booster jab?

All pregnant women who are unvaccinated against Covid-19 can book their jab now, the JCVI has said.

If women have already had two vaccine doses, and had their second dose at least three months ago, they can book in for their booster.

Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of the JCVI, said: “There is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines used in pregnancy increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirths, congenital abnormalities or birth complications.

“Having a UK-approved Covid-19 vaccine is safer than having Covid-19 itself.

“Women who are pregnant are strongly encouraged to have a first, second or booster vaccine dose as appropriate in order to better protect yourself and your baby from any serious consequences from Covid-19.”

Which vaccine will I get?

The Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines are the preferred jabs for pregnant women of any age who are coming for their first dose.

Women who have already started vaccination and are getting their second or booster dose whilst pregnant should have the same vaccine as they had the first time, unless they suffered a serious side effect.

What are the side effects?

It is common to experience some side effects after your Covid-19 vaccination, and symptoms will vary from person to person.

It is also possible that you will not have any side effects at all.

The NHS said that in most cases, side effects from the jab will be mild and should only last for a few days.

The most commonly reported symptoms include:

  • a sore arm at the site of the injection
  • muscle aches
  • joint pain
  • fever
  • chills
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • nausea

You can take painkillers, such as paracetamol, to help ease the symptoms, but if they worsen and you are concerned, you should call 111 for advice.

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