Who can't have the Covid vaccine? From pregnant women to children

Who can't have the Covid vaccine? From pregnant women to children

December 29, 2020

PREGNANT women and children will not be offered the Covid vaccine due to a lack of evidence, experts have said.

Here we look at the groups that have been told not to have the Pfizer vaccine that is being rolled out.

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Pregnant women

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) confirmed their priority list for the Pfizer vaccine roll out last week, after the jab was given the green light.

The JCVI “favours a precautionary approach” to pregnant women getting the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

The mass immunisation of the UK began on December 8 after the vaccine was found to be 95 per cent effective, according to studies.

The first person to get the jab was 90-year-old Margaret Keenan with priority given to those aged 80 and over.

The vaccine will be rolled out to other sectors in society according to a priority list with people in care homes, the over 80s and NHS workers also at the top of the list.

Pregnant women have been told not to have the jab because there is a lack of evidence about how it affects expectant mums.

The JCVI states: "There are no data as yet on the safety of Covid-19 vaccines in pregnancy, either from human or animal studies.

"Given the lack of evidence, the 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 first dose"

The JCVI adds that it is expects data to be made available from clinical trials, and will review that to update their guidance.

Those who are breast-feeding should also ask for advice from a doctor or pharmacist before receiving the vaccine.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, said there is not enough information on pregnant women because none of the trials for the vaccine deliberately included them.

The JCVI said it would review any new data once it was produced.

Adam Finn, a professor of paediatrics at the University of Bristol, says it is normal practice to avoid giving vaccines to pregnant women “unless there is evidence to support safety”.

He added: “This is because of the very high need to avoid risk to the mother, the baby and the pregnancy.

“Equally there is a need to provide protection to pregnant women against infection – accordingly it is a priority to obtain the necessary information to confirm whether this is safe. But this takes time.”

Stephen Evans, a professor of pharmacoepidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said medicines, drugs and vaccines are only authorised for use in groups where there is evidence of efficacy and safety.

The MHRA is currently considering the Oxford Covid vaccine which could be approved withing days, allowing for the vaccine to be administered in the UK as soon as January 4.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is seen as game-changing within Whitehall, as its low price and ease of storage will allow the government to vaccinate people more quickly.

Over 600,000 people have been vaccinated so far in the UK, according to data released last week.


Children under the age of 16 are also on the list of people who won't be offered the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.

As with pregnant women, this is because of a lack of evidence as to whether it is safe.

The JCVI said children infected with Covid-19 are either asymptomatic or experience mild symptoms.

It 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 vaccination.”

Anyone with allergies

Anyone with an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine has been warned not to have it.

The government's leaflet for UK residents says the vaccine's active substance is BNT162b2 RNA.

After dilution, the vial contains 5 doses, of 0.3 mL with 30 micrograms mRNA each.

The other ingredients are listed as:

  • ALC-0315 = (4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate)
  • ALC-0159 = 2[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide,
  • 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine
  • cholesterol
  • potassium chloride
  • potassium dihydrogen phosphate
  • sodium chloride
  • disodium hydrogen phosphate dihydrate
  • sucrose

The NHS says having an allergic reaction to a vaccine is very rare but people should speak to their GPs if they know of any allergies they have.

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