WHO changes advice on vaccinations for pregnant women

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The World Health Organization reworded its advice on pregnant women receiving COVID-19 vaccines Jan. 29, stating there's no reason to believe that risks outweigh the benefits of vaccination, The New York Times reported. 

The organization previously said that most pregnant women shouldn't get a COVID-19 vaccine unless they were at high risk of exposure to the virus or of becoming severely ill.

The WHO now states: "Pregnant women at high risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (e.g. health workers) or who have comorbidities which add to their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated in consultation with their healthcare provider."

Health experts had been concerned with the WHO's guidance recommending against pregnant women receiving vaccines because it was inconsistent with guidance from the CDC, according to the Times

The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines have not been tested in pregnant women, but haven't shown any negative effects in animal studies, the Times reported. 

Some studies have suggested that COVID-19 antibodies can cross into the placenta, and a study published Jan. 29 in JAMA Pediatrics suggested that pregnant women transfer more antibodies to fetuses if infected with the virus earlier in pregnancy, the Times reported. This may mean being vaccinated against the virus earlier in pregnancy could offer more protection for the mother and fetus. 

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