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'Are you pregnant?' button added to NHS Covid vaccine booking site
14 May 2021, 21:04
A new button will be added to the NHS Covid-19 vaccine booking site to ensure that pregnant women are given the correct vaccine.
The government's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that all pregnant women should be offered an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZenca vaccine where possible.
Those expecting a baby in the UK will be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna jabs, as there is more data on the safety of these vaccines in pregnant women.
The JCVI said: "There is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women, but more research is needed."
To ensure that the correct vaccine is given and to see tailored advice about getting the jab, a new "Are you Pregnant?" button will be added to the NHS booking website.
The change has been welcomed by midwives, obstetricians and gynaecologists.
“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," said Dr Mary Ross-Davie, Director for Professional Midwifery at the RCM.
"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.”
Dr Pat O’Brien, Vice President at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, added: “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.
"Vaccination continues to offer pregnant women the best protection from Covid-19, which can be serious in some women.”
Those who have already had an AstraZeneca vaccine prior to or earlier in pregnancy are encouraged to discuss to the situation with their midwife or GP.
The move to increase the ease at which pregnant women can get vaccinated comes as the government has moved to accelerate the rollout of second doses for the clinically vulnerable and over 50s.
In an effort to clamp down on the spread of the Indian variant of concern, the period between jabs will be reduced from 12 weeks to eight amongst this group.
While there are concerns that the Indian B.1.617.2 variant is more transmissible than the dominant B.1.1.7 variant first found in Kent, there is currently no evidence to suggest vaccines are less effective in protecting against severe illness and hospitalisation with the new variant.