Local medical experts in fertility and women’s health have recorded a short film to provide clarity and reassurance around the safety of the COVID-19 vaccination.
Dr Lalitha Iyer and Dr Fatima Husain, who are both senior clinicians, are providing advice and reassurance using the newly released video.
Dr Iyer is the executive medical director of NHS Frimley Collaborative of Clinical Commissioning Groups, a local GP and leads on women’s health. She said:
“People may be worried about having the vaccine when invited because they’ve either come across misinformation or they’re not aware of the facts when it comes to vaccinating certain people and groups. This includes pregnant women and those planning on starting a family whether that’s soon or in the future.
“I’d like to reassure people that there is no evidence that the vaccines affect fertility. Rumours that they do are speculative and not backed by any official data.”
Dr Husain, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, said:
“Some of the most frequently asked questions I’m getting from women is whether it’s safe to have the COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy, and will their fertility be affected by having the vaccine.
“I’d like to reassure women, in line with a statement issued by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and The Royal College of Midwives, that there is no current evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 vaccines will affect their fertility.
“There is also no known risk associated with giving non-live vaccines during pregnancy, such as the COVID-19 vaccines, as they do not replicate and cannot cause infection to either yourself or your unborn child.
“However, although the available data does not indicate any safety concern or harm to pregnancy, there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine use of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy at present.
“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) has recommended that the vaccination in pregnancy should only be considered where the risk of exposure to severe infection is high, or where a woman has underlying conditions that puts her at very high risk of serious complications of COVID-19.
“This includes women who are clinically extremely vulnerable, as they have a greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and to health or social care workers, including carers working in residential homes, as they’re at very high risk of catching the virus even if they have a lower risk of experiencing complications if they are otherwise well.”
Dr Husain is advising women who fit into either of these 2 groups to discuss the benefits and risks of having the vaccination with their health care professional. She is also urging women to visit trusted websites for more information as she appreciates there can be a lot of misinformation out there which can lead to confusion and unnecessary stress.
Trusted websites include:
Pregnant women are clinically extremely vulnerable if:
- they’ve had a solid organ transplant
- they have a severe respiratory condition including cystic fibrosis and severe asthma
- they have homozygous sickle cell disease
- they are receiving immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
- they are receiving dialysis or with chronic kidney disease (stage 5)
- or they have a significant congenital or acquired heart disease