Several social media users have shared the screenshot of a document released by the British government to claim that the government has secretly revoked pregnant and breast-feeding women from getting covid vaccines. We fact-checked and found the claim is False. Although the document has been updated, the change has not been made in the lines that talks about pregnant and breastfeeding women.
On August 16, 2022, the British government’s medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency updated the page titled ‘Summary of the Public Assessment Report for COVID-19 Vaccine Pfizer/BioNTech’.
After the update, several Twitter users have falsely claimed that the British government has secretly revoked approval for pregnant and breastfeeding women to get vaccinated against covid infection.
Has the U.K. revoked covid vaccine for pregnant women?
It does not seem so. Although the page was last updated on 16, 2022, we could not find any change in the lines that talk about pregnant and childbearing women when compared with the archived December 2020 version of the same document.
The lines misinterpreted in the social media posts come from the Public Assessment Report (PAR), which summarises the initial assessment at the time of covid vaccine approval. Since then, new guidelines have been uploaded on the GOV.UK website. The new guidelines nowhere suggest the British government has secretly revoked approval for pregnant and breastfeeding women to get vaccinated against covid infection.
A dated description of all the changes made so far is available in the ‘see all updates’ section.
Is covid vaccine harmful for pregnant women?
To a certain extent. Published studies show that covid vaccines may bring unwanted side effects to pregnant and childbearing women, however, the probability of overall risk is low. But the evidence also shows that the analysis is based upon a small sample size of pregnant and child bearing women that might not represent the population at the community level.
On the contrary, evidence also suggests that women who are pregnant or want to get pregnant in the near future are at an increased risk of illness from Covid infection.
The available evidence so far indicates that the benefits of getting a covid vaccine can outweigh the potential risks. Even a study published in 2022 informs that Covid vaccines can reduce the risk of severe illness and associated hospitalization during pregnancy.
The Indian government is also promoting covid vaccines for pregnant women and has come up with an operational guideline for healthcare professionals to help deal with such cases better.
Still, the decision to get vaccinated during pregnancy or child bearing is always an individual’s choice. It would be better to take professional opinions and talk about the concerns to discuss everything about the Covid vaccine and pregnancy.
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