Joint Committee On Vaccination And Immunization, Covid discussed on Woman's Hour
The vaccine research. So there is no incentive for commercial companies to include pregnant women in research. And I don't mean, I'm not advocating researching on pregnant women without their knowledge. And when we wouldn't consider it to be completely safe. But excluding women, not offering women the option to be included in a vaccine trial means that we have no information. Because for companies that is considered to be too risky, we're actually we see what the consequences that pregnant women can then not benefit from vaccination. So we need to make sure that we've got a framework which ensures that pregnant women can benefit. Can we talk about messaging because during those first months of the vaccine rollout, only pregnant health or healthcare workers or those at risk groups were advised by the joint committee on vaccination and immunization to consider the jab due to a lack of evidence. And then in April 2021, we have that reassurance that the vaccine is safe for pregnant women. But was the damage done in your opinion in those early days that seed of doubt was planted in the minds of many pregnant women. That's exactly right. The siege of doubt was planted because we didn't have that evidence. And that unfortunately has led to long-term consequences, as you mentioned at the beginning, I know that there have been deaths of pregnant women who've not been vaccinated, who were eligible for vaccination. There have been no deaths in pregnant women who've been fully vaccinated. And that's a really important message. We have to think about the benefits of vaccination and not just any theoretical potential risks. We are at a situation where COVID regulations are being lifted. We've got fewer masks. We've got less social distancing and it almost seems like many the pandemic is a thing of the past, and it might make some including pregnant women feel that they don't need to be vaccinated now that things are better. And others still might be concerned about getting the vaccine if they are pregnant. What do you say to them? For me, it's absolutely the converse. The vaccine is now more essential than ever. Because we still got significant amount of amounts of infection, those protective measures, mask wearing, social distancing, and not being practiced as widely, which means pregnant women are more vulnerable. And we know there's really other benefits to the baby. We know that if you are vaccinated, your antibodies pass across the placenta.