Latest update on COVID-19 vaccines in Spain:
The COVID-19 vaccine is now a reality in our country. Since last December, mRNA type vaccines are being supplied in Spain, from the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna laboratories. When this type of vaccine is administered, the mRNA helps create proteins common to the virus, developing antibodies in humoral immunity that would defend us from the virus, if it came into contact with our body.
On 29 January 2021, AstraZeneca’s vaccine was authorised in the European Union following a positive opinion from the European Medicines Agency. It is a vaccine containing a modified adenovirus that carries the genetic information for the production of the Covid-19 Spike (S) protein. The ultimate goal is common to the other vaccines, which is for our immune system to recognise this protein as foreign and to generate antibodies against it. The modified adenovirus has no ability to replicate and therefore cannot be considered a cause of disease.
Pregnancy and the COVID-19 vaccine
The Spanish Ministry of Health recommends postponing vaccination in pregnant women until the end of the pregnancy, since there is insufficient evidence; however, it also states that there are no indications of safety problems related to the administration of the doses in pregnant women. The Ministry provides for individual exceptions in cases of women at high risk of exposure or complications.
Women seeking pregnancy and the COVID vaccine.
For women planning to become pregnant, COVID-19 vaccines are very unlikely to cause problems for the foetus or the pregnant woman. In any case, if pregnancy is planned, as a precautionary measure, insemination or embryo transfer can be performed 2 weeks after the administration of the second dose.
What do other medical entities say about the vaccine for pregnant women?
On the use of mRNA-type vaccines in pregnant women, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) certifies that animal studies have shown no negative effects on pregnancy. However, data on how to use this type of vaccine is limited.
The American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the Maternal Fetal Society and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) do not recommend restricting the use of the vaccine in patients who are planning to become pregnant, are pregnant or are breastfeeding.
What effect does the vaccine have on pregnancy?
From the information provided by the health authorities, we can assume that there is no risk of the vaccine itself having a negative effect on the embryo. The reason why its use is not recommended in pregnant women is solely and exclusively because there is no experience yet in this population group. On the other hand, we should add that so far there is no published data on a teratogenic effect of the virus on patients infected with COVID-19 during the first trimester of pregnancy.
IVI’s opinion on the matter.
At IVI, we recommend, first of all, following the Ministry of Health’s indications when deciding on the use of the vaccine in pregnant women.
In patients who are planning to start Assisted Reproduction treatment, we consider that, if possible, it would be advisable to have the vaccine before insemination or embryo transfer. In the event the woman is already pregnant, the decision should be made in agreement with her doctor after considering the risks and benefits of the application of the vaccine.