The message from health chiefs is clear: Covid-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant women. While a question mark hung over this vital detail earlier on in jab trials, today there is clear data to show there is no risk to mothers-to-be or their unborn children.
It is a major step forwards in the battle against the virus.
And there is even evidence that vaccinating women now may have knock-on benefits for any children they have in the future, too. Since the immunity provided by a Covid vaccine is passed down to the foetus, wide take-up of the jab will eventually lead to a generation of children with in-built resistance.
While the risk that Covid poses to pregnant women and babies is generally low, studies have shown that women who catch it while pregnant are two to three times more likely to give birth prematurely – which can endanger the newborn. However, the jab dramatically reduces this risk.
Despite this, experts say that roughly one in five pregnant patients are hesitant about getting a Covid jab. Other studies suggest this is likely to be higher – the results of a poll of more than 1,000 pregnant women, reported last week, showed at least one in three weren’t sure they’d have one.
‘The majority of pregnant women understand it is important, but some say they aren’t sure they want to take anything while pregnant,’ says Dr Pat O’Brien, vice-president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Yet scientists remain adamant there is no evidence to suggest any of the Covid vaccines have any effect on pregnancy.
One leading scientist told this newspaper that having the vaccine was the ‘best thing you can do for your baby’ due to the reduction in risk of a premature birth. So why all the worry?
Some say the seed of doubt was planted even before the beginning of the vaccine programme.