Are mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Safe for Pregnant Women?

By: Adna Zeljkovic, Project Manager

The year is 2019. We start hearing in the news about a new virus rapidly spreading in Wuhan, China. Very soon, this new virus reaches Europe, North America, and the rest of the world. The era of COVID-19 begins.

COVID-19 is an acronym which stands for: CO – Corona, VI – Virus, D – Disease, and 19 referring to the year 2019 when the virus began spreading. COVID-19 belongs to the same family of viruses as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). As soon as COVID-19 started spreading across the globe, we have seen the world slow down, and even come to a full stop at some places. Trying to contain the virus, governments implemented strict restrictions, curfews, closed down restaurants and bars, and restricted travel. The question became: How do we conquer this and how do we get back to normal? Everyone started talking about vaccines, and the pharmaceutical industry shifted into high gear. Very soon, clinical trials began and not long after, the first doses of the vaccines started arriving. Even though the majority of people were thrilled, there were still people sceptical about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. The safety of vaccines is a large domain. In this article, we focus on the scientific research done on the safety of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women.

When the COVID-19 vaccines started appearing, there were initial safety concerns about administering them to pregnant women. However, it soon became apparent that pregnant women are at a higher risk of severe illness and even death if infected by COVID-19. Even if that was not enough, COVID-19 poses high risks of pregnancy related issues, such as preterm birth or worse. It was therefore concluded that pregnant women should have priority of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Specifically, the mRNA vaccines are recommended for pregnant women.

Now that the vaccination process is well under way, researchers have analysed scientific data about the effects of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines on pregnant women. This is important to determine the safety of these new Covid-19 vaccines, which use mRNA, lipid nanoparticles, and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes. In particular, as reported by a scientific article titled “Preliminary Findings of mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine Safety in Pregnant Persons” (https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa2104983), pregnant women participate in a post-vaccine examination and report program. Around 35,691 participants were registered from December 14, 2020, to February 28, 2021. It is important to understand how the scientific community determines, among other methods, the safety of such vaccines. One method is to gather data on the status of the pregnancy and the successful outcome of it. This data is gathered and compared. There are datasets available on this data from before the COVID-19 pandemic. The scientists take the new data during COVID-19 and with pregnant women that have been vaccinated and compare it to the older dataset. If the results are comparable, this increases the probability that vaccines have no negative effect on the pregnancy. Indeed, in the studies conducted so far, there is no indication that there are increased pregnancy related issues with pregnant women vaccinated with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, when compared to a period before COVID-19. This indicates that the mRNA vaccines are safe to use in pregnancies.

With COVID-19 vaccines under the loop in these strange times, it is important to note that the research and scientific community is doing their best to make sure the vaccines we get are safe, and will bring us one step closer to getting back to normal. A great number of independent research facilities and institutes study and experiment with the vaccines, so that independent reports can be created. This increases the confidence that the vaccines are safe. As with everything in life, nothing can be black or white, but a shade of gray. The same goes for vaccines. The more we test and improve, the higher the percentage of a successful outcome. We should be honored to live in a time where mankind has the resources, technology and knowledge to fight a pandemic and create a vaccine in such a short time. For that, a round of applause for all our scientists, researchers, and pharmaceutical professionals! We will win this! Mankind will win!

 

Modis Life Sciences can support your organisation in several areas, such as vaccine development, clinical research, medical research and project management. Modis has talented and passionate people who are working on projects related to COVID-19 vaccines. We can support and make strong collaborations in the area of healthcare.