Pregnant women in the Cayman Island are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The news comes following the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)updating its guidance on who can be administered the jab, with women who are pregnant or breastfeeding added to the grouping.
According to the JCVI, there are no known risk associated with administering inactivated, recombinant viral or bacterial vaccines or toxoids during pregnancy, or while breastfeeding, since these vaccines cannot replicate, they cannot cause infection in either mother or the foetus.
“This is incredibly welcome news. Vaccination programmes have the greatest chance of impacting the spread of a virus if more people get vaccinated,” said Cayman’s Minister of Health Sabrina Turner.
“The new guidance enables more women to benefit from the increased protection offered by the COVID-19 vaccine,” added Turner.
Since the vaccines received emergency authorisation in the USA, extensive data has been collected relating to vaccinated women.
Over 100,000 women in the USA have indicated that they were pregnant at the time they received COVID-19 vaccination and nearly 5,000 have enrolled in an ongoing study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
No safety concerns have been reported so far.
The JCVI guidance further explains that if a woman finds out she is pregnant after she has started a course of vaccine, she may complete vaccination during pregnancy using the same vaccine product (unless contraindicated). Alternatively, vaccination should be offered as soon as possible after pregnancy.
“Global vaccine uptake continues to be very promising as over a billion doses have been administered worldwide to date. With this comes more information and evidence that is suggesting that the COVID-19 vaccines available are safe and effective at preventing the worse outcomes from the disease,” said Chief Medical Officer, Dr John Lee.
“We continue to monitor the latest information as it is published and as more studies are conducted. The new guidance from JCVI is very encouraging especially since pregnant women are much more at risk if they do get sick with COVID-19. I hope it will give confidence to women who are pregnant, or are planning to be, who can choose to take advantage of the vaccine available on-island,” he added.
The Ministry of Health also used the occasion to reiterate its call for all persons to take advantage of the current vaccine supplies which are set to expire at the end of June.