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Covid-19 mRNA vaccines to be offered to women at all stages of pregnancy

This comes after the NIAC made a number of recommendations to the Chief Medical Officer.
Sep 1st 2021, 6:07 PM 12,415 4

PEOPLE WHO ARE pregnant are to be offered Covid-19 mRNA vaccinations at any stage of their pregnancy, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has announced. 

This comes after the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) made a number of recommendations to the Chief Medical Officer, who has endorsed them. 

The NIAC has recommended that pregnant women and adolescents from 12 years of age should be offered an mRNA Covid-19 vaccination at any stage of pregnancy following an individual benefit/risk discussion with the obstetric care giver. 

In April this year, the NIAC had recommended that pregnant women be offered mRNA COVID-19 vaccination between 14-36 weeks’ gestation.

The NIAC has updated this recommendation based on the growing body of evidence on the safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccination, a statement from the Department of Health said.

“The evidence clearly indicates that the benefits of vaccination outweigh any known or potential risks of Covid-19 vaccination during pregnancy,” the statement said. 

Minister Donnelly said he is “aware that many pregnant people and their partners will have questions about this update to the vaccination programme”.

“I encourage anyone who has any concerns to engage with their obstetric care team and the many trusted sources of information available in order to make the best decision for you and your baby,” he said.

Immunocompromised

NIAC’s updated advice also recommends an extended primary vaccination course with an mRNA vaccine for immunocompromised individuals aged 12 years and older, regardless of whether the initial Covid-19 vaccine they received was an mRNA or an adenoviral vector vaccine.

The third dose of an mRNA vaccine should be given a minimum of two months after the last dose of the primary vaccination schedule.

“Since the very beginning of this pandemic, we have worked to protect those most at high risk from severe illness and death from Covid-19,” Donnelly said.

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“I hope that the opportunity to receive a third or booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine dose brings comfort and reassurance to people that these vaccines are very safe and effective and offer protection from Covid-19,” he said. 

Donnelly said he will now work with his Department, the HSE and the High Level Task Force to implement these recommendations as soon as possible.  

“As we move into this new stage of the pandemic, it is more important than ever that all of those eligible for vaccination but who remain unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, should initiate/complete their vaccination course,” the Minister said.

“Vaccination along with our continued adherence to the public health advice we are all so familiar with are the best ways we can protect ourselves, our loves ones and our country’s re-opening.”

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Hayley Halpin

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