GPs to CANCEL AstraZeneca vaccine appointments for pregnant women
GPs that are only dishing out AstraZeneca's Covid vaccine have been told to scrap all planned appointments for pregnant women.
A letter sent by NHS England bosses to practices on Saturday specified sites that do not have Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in stock should cancel all scheduled first doses for expectant mothers.
It takes a more cautious stance than Number 10's vaccine advisory panel, which says pregnant women should be offered jabs at the same time as their peers.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation originally said mothers-to-be should hold off on getting jabbed until there was more evidence. But it performed a U-turn last week after data from the US showed they were safe.
It advised pregnant women should be offered Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in the first instance — but did not ban expectant mothers from getting AstraZeneca's jab.
The JCVI guidance said: 'Woman who are planning pregnancy, are in the immediate postpartum, or are breastfeeding can be vaccinated with any vaccine, depending on their age and clinical risk group.'
But the NHS England letter to practices the following day instructed all practices to direct pregnant women to primary care network sites, if they were unable to offer Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
It said all 'sites should implement screening procedures to ensure pregnant women are identified and offered the Pfizer BioNtech or Moderna vaccine'.
The letter added pregnant women who have already had a first dose of AstraZeneca should continue with their second dose as planned, in line with guidance for the rest of the population.
Previous guidance said pregnant and breastfeeding women should not be routinely offered any coronavirus vaccine because they weren't included in clinical trials.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says pregnant women are no more likely to catch Covid than others, and that most have no symptoms or suffer mild cold or flu-like warning signs.