THE Oxford Covid vaccine was approved by regulators today – and the jab will be rolled out to millions of Brits from Monday.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the vaccine will help Britain out of the pandemic by spring – but what does this mean for pregnant women?
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Can you have the Oxford Covid vaccine whilst pregnant?
Like the Pfizer jab, pregnant women, children, and those with relevant allergies, will not receive the new Oxford vaccine.
Sarah Gilbert, professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford, said previously that trials were being designed to test the vaccine in pregnant women.
She said earlier this month: "It will be important to include pregnant women in the trials because they're potentially at risk of more severe disease but that's something that has to be done in a very careful manner.
"We have to complete particular toxicology studies before we can enroll pregnant women in the trials and that is all in the planning stages at the moment.
"So pregnant women will not be included in vaccine rollout initially, they will be one of the groups that will require further assessment.
"And then we would hope to add that to the groups that can receive the vaccine at a slightly later stage."
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) confirmed their priority list for the Pfizer vaccine roll out after the jab was given the green light.
The JCVI “favours a precautionary approach” to pregnant women getting the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
Pregnant women have been told not to have the jab because there is a lack of evidence about how it affects expectant mums.
The JCVI states: "There are no data as yet on the safety of Covid-19 vaccines in pregnancy, either from human or animal studies.
"Given the lack of evidence, the JCVI favours a precautionary approach and does not currently advise Covid-19 vaccination in pregnancy.
"Women should be advised not to come forward for vaccination if they may be pregnant or are planning a pregnancy within three months of the first dose."
Adam Finn, a professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol, says it is normal practice to avoid giving vaccines to pregnant women “unless there is evidence to support safety”.
He added: “This is because of the very high need to avoid risk to the mother, the baby and the pregnancy.
“Equally there is a need to provide protection to pregnant women against infection – accordingly it is a priority to obtain the necessary information to confirm whether this is safe. But this takes time.”
Can you have the Oxford Covid vaccine whilst breastfeeding?
Those who are breastfeeding should also ask for advice from a doctor or pharmacist before receiving the vaccine.
However the Government website for the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine states: "If you are breastfeeding you should wait until you have finished breastfeeding and then have the vaccine.
"If you were breastfeeding when you had the first dose you are advised not to have the second dose until you have finished breastfeeding."
When will the Oxford Covid vaccine be available?
The Oxford vaccine was approved by regulators today, Wednesday, December 30, and should be rolled out next week.
The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine – enough to vaccinate 50 million people.
Along with the 30 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine, Britain now has enough doses ordered to vaccinate the entire population, Mr Hancock said.
Hailing the approval as "fantastic news, the Health Secretary confirmed its roll-out would begin on January 4.
He also said "we are confident we can get out of the pandemic by the spring," telling Sky News: "It's very good news for accelerating the vaccine roll-out. It brings forward the day we can get our lives back to normal.
"The vaccine is our way out of the pandemic."
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