The U.K. government still recommends pregnant women take the COVID-19 vaccine. A section of its report on the topic has remained unchanged since 2020.
In late August 2022, several Facebook and Twitter posts claimed that the U.K. government had updated its COVID-19 vaccine guidance for pregnant women. A video from Hugo Talks, a Facebook page known to spread misinformation, claimed that the "U.K. government does not recommend jabs for pregnant women." The video shows sections from an article on the U.K. government's website published on August 16, 2022, titled, "Summary of the Public Assessment Report for COVID-19 Vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech." The video highlights the "Toxicity conclusion" section and states that pregnant women are not safe to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The articles in the social media posts were published by the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in 2020 and later updated in August 2022. The report originally coincided with the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out when studies were still ongoing. The report discussed mRNA vaccine studies and their associated risk assessments, before concluding that there was insufficient data at that time and that "no scientific objections" arose from this review.
The "Toxicity conclusion" states that pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take the vaccine with the given information at that time. However, it also mentioned that these conclusions were based on the absence of data and "do not reflect a specific finding of concern."
The MHRA told Associated Press News on August 31, 2022, that the update to the report in 2022 did not change the "Toxicity conclusion" section, but noted, "Since then new data has come to light (both non-clinical and post-authorisation 'real world' data) which supports the updated advice on vaccinating those who are pregnant and breastfeeding." Logically has reached out to the MHRA and is awaiting a response.
In September 2022, the U.K. Health Security Agency reported that pregnant women are more susceptible to COVID-19 and should be vaccinated: "In the U.K., over 100,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated mainly with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and they have a good safety profile."
Similarly, the NHS states on its website that it is safe for women to receive COVID-19 vaccines at any stage of their pregnancy and even while breastfeeding: "There's no evidence COVID-19 vaccination increases the risk of having a miscarriage, pre-term birth or other complications in your pregnancy."
The clips from the report shown on social media posts are from the updated MHRA guidance; however, the section in question has no changes from the original report in 2020. The U.K. government and the NHS have advised pregnant and breastfeeding women to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19, including symptoms, prevention, and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organization or your national healthcare authority.