PHE vaccination in pregnancy guideline

Pregnant woman and doctor AS (thumbnail)

This concise and useful summary of PHE guidance covers PHE monitoring of women vaccinated in pregnancy or shortly before conception.

Vaccination is a successful and cost-effective public health intervention. Despite the protection that maternal vaccination offers to both mother and foetus against vaccine-preventable diseases, the administration of live viral and bacterial vaccines is generally contraindicated during pregnancy. This is because live vaccines have the potential to infect the foetus, although there is no evidence that live vaccines cause birth defects. However, live vaccines may be administered during pregnancy if the risks associated with contracting a vaccine-preventable disease are greater than those associated with maternal vaccination. In addition, women may be inadvertantly immunised with live vaccines shortly before conception or during early pregnancy. As part of a UK-wide surveillance programme on the safety of vaccines given in pregnancy, Public Health England (PHE) analyses information reported by surgeries on women immunised with the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), varicella, or human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccines during pregnancy or shortly before conception.

This Guidelines for Nurses summary covers:

  • the requirement to notify PHE about women immunised with the MMR, varicella, or HPV vaccines during pregnancy or shortly before conception
  • the role of PHE in tracking women who have received these vaccines and then become pregnant within a specific time frame
  • guidance on the risks to pregnant women of immunisation with the MMR, varicella, and HPV vaccines.

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