The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that pregnant women in the UK be offered COVID-19 vaccination at the same time as the rest of the population.

In a statement, Public Health England (PHE) said that there have been no specific safety concerns identified with any COVID-19 vaccine in relation to pregnancy.

The JCVI considered real-world data from the US which showed that around 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated, mostly with mRNA vaccines including those developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, without any safety concerns.

As such, the JCVI has advised that its preferable for pregnant women in the UK to receive either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where possible.

PHE said that while there is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for use in pregnant women, more research is needed.

Pregnant women are still advised to discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their clinicians, which includes the latest evidence on safety and which vaccines they should receive.

The JCVI is set to continue closely monitoring the evidence on COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy and will update its advice as needed.

“The available data on the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines provides confidence that they can be offered safely to pregnant women,” said Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at PHE.

“The COVID-19 vaccines continue to save thousands of lives and it is important that we encourage as many people as possible to take up the offer when it is their turn,” she added.

COVID-19 vaccines have been found to be effective in protecting against serious illness with COVID-19, according to clinical data.

Severe illness due to COVID-19, although uncommon, is more likely in later pregnancy, with pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19 infection two to three times more likely to give birth to their baby prematurely, according to PHE.