Considered as a quick reversal, the World Health Organization (WHO) is now recommending pregnant women to get vaccinated.

The World Health Organization previously advised against the vaccination of pregnant women using the Moderna vaccine. Now, it is recommending the opposite following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the updated guidance of the WHO posted on its website, it emphasised that although pregnancy puts women at a much higher risk of experiencing severe COVID-19, there is very little data that is available to make an assessment on the safety of vaccines during pregnancy. Nevertheless, based on what the organisation knows about the vaccine, they do not have any specific reason to believe that there will be particular risks that can outweigh the benefits pregnant women will receive from a vaccination.

The current guidance of the WHO was in line with the pronouncement of the CDC, which stated "People who are pregnant and part of a group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine may choose to be vaccinated."

The CDC has outlined that observational data shows that pregnant women who have COVID-19 are at an increased risk of suffering from a severe illness. This would include illness that could result in mechanical ventilation, ICU admission, and even death as compared to women who are at their reproductive age but are not pregnant. It also noted that there is also an increase in adverse pregnancy results like having a preterm birth.

The CDC also revealed that neither the Moderna nor the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were tested on pregnant women considering that studies involving such a condition are planned. Nevertheless, manufacturers of both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are closely monitoring those involved in the trials and who have become pregnant.

Pregnant woman
WHO recommends Moderna vaccine for pregnant women. Photo: Pixabay

It also noted that the decision of a pregnant woman to get vaccinated is a personal choice. It recommends for pregnant patients to discuss with their healthcare providers the likelihood of getting exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and the risk of COVID-19 to the mother and also to the fetus.

The CDC also reminds pregnant women who get vaccinated to continue wearing masks even after vaccination.