The World Health Organization has recommended against the use of the Moderna vaccine in pregnant women, albeit with certain exceptions.
In its guidance released this week, the WHO said, “In the interim, WHO recommends not to use [Moderna’s vaccine] in pregnancy, unless the benefit of vaccinating a pregnant woman outweighs the potential vaccine risks, such as in health workers at high risk of exposure and pregnant women with comorbidities placing them in a high-risk group for severe COVID-19.”
The WHO made a similar recommendation for the Pfizer vaccine earlier in January.
Pregnant women are at higher risk of a severe case of COVID-19. The disease has also been linked to a higher risk of preterm births.
The WHO acknowledged that COVID-19 vaccine tests in animals had not shown harmful effects in pregnancy. It also stated that the “vaccine is not a live virus vaccine” and “does not enter the nucleus of the cell and is degraded quickly.”
Studies of the vaccine’s effect on pregnant women are planned, and the WHO said it would update its recommendations once data from those studies become available.
The WHO guidance did say that women who are breastfeeding should be offered vaccines, even though there is as yet no data on the effects of the COVID-19 vaccine on breastfeeding children.