PREGNANT women in the UK will not be offered the Covid-19 vaccine.
Experts say a lack of data means they cannot be sure the new jabs are safe for expecting mothers.
It also means pregnant women have been left off the priority list, despite initially being deemed more at risk of the virus.
Pregnant women were advised to shield from society during the first lockdown, meaning they should not leave the house.
But despite this, they cannot share the UK's excitement for the vaccine news today, that regulators have approved use for the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid jab.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which drew up the prioritisation list for vaccines for the UK Government, said in its report today: "Given the lack of evidence, JCVI favours a precautionary approach, and does not currently advise COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy.
"Women should be advised not to come forward for vaccination if they
may be pregnant or are planning a pregnancy within three months of the
Pregnant and breastfeeding women have not been included in trials of the frontrunner vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna or Oxford University.
Pfizer spokesperson Jerica Pitts said the company is doing early research – not yet conducting trials in humans – to see how the vaccine works in pregnancy, USA Today reported last month.
The JCVI said more data is anticipated which will help steer decisions over whether pregnancy women can have the vaccine in the future.
Pregnant women with heart disease are deemed "extremely clinically vulnerable".
But they will be excluded from the vaccination priority list too, the JCVI said.
Under 16s will also be exempt because there is limited data on how their body will respond to the vaccine.
The JCVI said: "The Committee advises that only those children at very high risk of exposure and serious outcomes, such as older children with severe
neuro-disabilities that require residential care, should be offered
Are pregnant woman more at risk of Covid-19?
Mums-to-be were told to shield in March as a precaution, because at the time it was feared they would suffer worse Covid-19 outcomes.
This was because pregnant women are at a greater risk of picking up viruses like the flu.
The NHS website says: "It's not clear if this happens with coronavirus. But because it's a new virus, it's safer to include pregnant women in the moderate-risk group.
Over the course of the pandemic, scientists have re-assured pregnant women are no more likely to get seriously more ill with coronavirus.
The fact they are female and typically under the age of 40, this also works in their favour.
It is expected the large majority of pregnant women who pick up the coronavirus will experience only mild symptoms because more severe symptoms needing hospital care, such as pneumonia, appear to be more common in men, older people, those with weakened immune systems or long-term conditions.
An Oxford University study found pregnant women from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds were more than four times likely to be admitted to hospital with the infection.
This is in-keeping with figures from the general population.
Obesity, having pre-existing health conditions, as well as being over the age of 35 also raised the odds, according to the results of the study in May.
So who will get the jab?
After the announcement that safety regulators had given their approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, the JCVI revealed exactly who would be vaccinated first.
Care home residents and NHS staff will be first in line for the Pfizer vaccine, experts have confirmed.
People aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk will be sixth in line for the jab after older age groups.
Care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and the extremely vulnerable will be among the 800,000 to get the jab in the first wave next week, it was confirmed.
After the most vulnerable people have received the vaccine the over 60s will receive the jab.
This will be followed by the over 55s and 50s before the rest of the population is able to be vaccinated.
The JCVI states that age is the biggest risk when it comes to the coronavirus.
A report published by the group states that models show that the vaccine is safe on older adults.
The report states: "Data also indicate that the absolute risk of mortality is
higher in those over 65 years than that seen in the majority of younger adults with an underlying health condition."
The report also notes that care home residents have been "disproportionally affected" by Covid-19.
This, the experts said, is due to the fact that they are at a higher risk of being exposed to infection.
"The Committee’s advice is that this group should be the highest priority for vaccination. Vaccination of residents and staff at the same time is considered to be a highly efficient strategy within a mass vaccination programme with the greatest potential impact", the report adds.
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