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The World Health Organization (WHO) released new recommendations for individuals receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. WHO now advises pregnant women to not receive the vaccine unless they are at high risk of exposure, like healthcare workers, or have a severe case.   

The guidance recommends against women receiving the vaccine during pregnancy, even though they are at a higher risk for severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19. The guidance states: 

“Pregnant women are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 compared with women of childbearing age who are not pregnant, and COVID-19 has been associated with an increased risk of preterm birth.”

The WHO is advising against the vaccine for pregnant women because clinical trials have not yet been performed. The guidance also states that new information will be updated when they have access to more data

However, similar recommendations for the Pfizer vaccine were released earlier this month with enough data for the WHO to recommend against the Pfizer vaccine for pregnant women.

The WHO is not recommending pregnancy testing before receiving the vaccine or postponing pregnancy following the vaccine. It also says that women who are breastfeeding are safe to receive the vaccine, because the shots are unlikely to pose any risk to breast-feeding children

The new guidelines from WHO also advise against the vaccine for anybody under the age of 18 as well as anybody with a history of allergic reactions to anything in the vaccine. It also says elderly individuals with a life expectancy of less than three months should be assessed by each individual case. 

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have already been given to millions of people across the world. Both require two shots that are taken a few weeks apart. 

Most countries are allowing healthcare workers, elderly individuals and those with pre-existing conditions to receive the vaccine first, since those groups are most likely to see severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19. 

The full recommendations of the WHO regarding the Moderna vaccine can be accessed here.

The full recommendations of the WHO regarding the Pfizer vaccine can be accessed here.

Resources for pregnant women: 

Written ByHaley Weger

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