The Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology has updated its recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women, advising them to get vaccinated at any time.
The update, released Saturday, came after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation earlier this month encouraging pregnant women to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
Previously, the Japanese medical society had called on women in their first 12 weeks of pregnancy to avoid mRNA vaccines, including one developed by U.S. drugmaker Pfizer Inc., in light of difficulties distinguishing such vaccines’ side effects from coincidental fetal abnormalities.
However, the U.S. CDC said that no increased risk for miscarriage had been confirmed among pregnant women who were vaccinated within 20 weeks of pregnancy.
In its new recommendations, the medical society also called on the husbands or partners of pregnant women to undergo COVID-19 vaccination, noting that COVID-19 had been transmitted from husbands or partners in around 80% of cases among pregnant women.
The medical society added that vaccine side effects do not differ between pregnant women and others.
In Japan, pregnant women are not subject to the obligation to make efforts to get vaccinated under the immunization law, but can receive shots for free.
“There are no reports that vaccinations had adverse effects on pregnancies or fetuses,” a health ministry official said. “Women in the late stages of their pregnancies are believed to face higher risks of severe symptoms if they are infected, so we strongly recommend those living in areas with many cases or those with underlying health issues to consider getting vaccine shots.”
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