BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s vaccine oversight body on Friday recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be vaccinated against COVID-19 with an mRNA-based shot.
The Permanent Vaccination Commission (STIKO) advises that women should receive two shots from the second trimester of pregnancy, according to guidance posted on the website of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.
“In addition, STIKO expressly recommends vaccination against COVID-19 for those of child-bearing age who are not yet or incompletely vaccinated, to ensure very good protection against this disease before pregnancy,” the guidance added.
Numerous countries have this year recommended that pregnant have COVID-19 vaccinations after finding them to be safe.
The European Medicines Agency said in July that data seen so far did not suggest any safety concerns, and in August the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that pregnant women should be vaccinated.
Germany is administering two vaccines based on messenger RNA (mRNA) technology – one made by local startup BioNTech in partnership with Pfizer, and a second from Moderna.
“Even pregnant and breastfeeding women now have a clear recommendation for vaccination,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said.
“My urgent request to all pregnant and breastfeeding women: Ask your doctor. Get vaccinated. You are protecting yourself and your child.”
Germany’s vaccine drive is lagging behind efforts in France, Spain and Portugal, leading RKI chief Lothar Wieler to warn this week of a “massive” fourth wave of infections this autumn if its pace is not stepped up.
Germany has fully vaccinated 73% of adults, compared to 71% across the European Union as a whole, official figures show.
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