Covid-19: Breastfeeding women can have vaccine after guidance turnaround

11 Jan, 2021

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has revised its guidance so that pregnant and breastfeeding women can receive the covid-19 vaccine.

Writing in BMJ Opinion, Helen Hare, an acute medicine trainee, and Kate Womersley, an academic foundation trainee, said that the change had come after strong pressure from campaigners, clinicians, and some of the women affected.1

The MHRA had previously recommended that breastfeeding women should not be given the vaccine, which Hare and Womersley said had been interpreted by NHS trusts as a blanket ban. But on 30 December the agency said that women who were breastfeeding could be given both the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

It also said that the vaccines could be considered for use in pregnancy but only when the potential benefits outweighed any potential risks for the mother and baby. “Women should discuss the benefits and risks of having the vaccine with their healthcare professional and reach a joint decision based on individual circumstances,” the MHRA advised.

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