Alignment of national COVID-19 vaccine recommendations for pregnant and lactating women

Michelle L. Giles, Ahinsa Gunatilaka, Kirsten Palmer, Ketaki Sharma, Vijay Roach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The rapid development and roll-out of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines is providing hope for a way to control the pandemic. As pregnant and lactating women are generally excluded from clinical trials, the vaccination programme was launched without adequate safety and efficacy data for pregnant women. Yet many professional organizations have recognized the need for administration of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy and have issued their own set of recommendations. The lack of evidence, however, has often led to confused messaging, inconsistent language and differing recommendations across organizations, potentially contributing to delay or refusal to accept vaccination by pregnant women. We summarize those differences and recommend that leaders collaborate at a country level to produce joint recommendations. We use the example of Australia, where two professional authorities along with the government and partners in New Zealand worked towards one message, consistent language and a unified recommendation. The aim was to help health professionals and women who are planning pregnancy or who are currently pregnant or breastfeeding to make an informed decision about COVID-19 vaccination. National advisory groups for immunization, professional obstetric organizations and government bodies should be encouraged to coordinate their statements on COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant and lactating women and to use similar language and phrasing for greater clarity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-746
Number of pages8
JournalBulletin of the World Health Organization
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

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