Covid-19 vaccination is now available for women at any stage of pregnancy
Women at any stage of pregnancy are now being offered an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), following a recent NIAC recommendation.
The new change has been implemented from today and the HSE is encouraging pregnant women to take up the Covid-19 vaccine when it is offered, following a discussion with their midwife, GP or obstetrician.
Following this consultation, women can attend for a vaccine at a walk-in vaccination centre at various locations across the country.
The majority of maternity hospitals/units are also having the vaccine discussion with women at their booking visit (12 to 14 weeks gestation).
Speaking about the changes, Dr Peter McKenna, National Clinical Director of the HSE National Women & Infants Health Programme, has said: “Evidence shows Covid-19 vaccines are safe and we now have a lot of experience of vaccination in pregnancy."
“We are recommending women, who are pregnant, trying for a baby or might get pregnant in the future get a COVID-19 vaccine. It is important that pregnant women protect themselves from the COVID-19 virus. We are encouraging women to take up this opportunity to avail of the vaccination and protect both themselves and their babies from getting unwell.”
Factual and updated information on the vaccine is available on the HSE website and health authorities are encouraging all women to read the information and to discuss vaccination with their obstetric caregiver.
For those pregnant women that are looking to attend a vaccination centre, the timings and locations of the walk-in centres can be viewed here.
Timings in the designated vaccination centres will vary across locations.
Anyone attending a walk-in clinic should also wear a face covering and something that will make it easy to get the vaccine in their upper arm, like a short-sleeved t-shirt.
In terms of Ireland's overall epidemiological situation, Dr Holohan said hospitalisation and ICU admissions are beginning to stabilise.
He said: "Overall the incidence of Covid-19 infection is declining across the country, the five-day moving average is 1,407 and we see a stabilisation of ICU and hospital admissions.
"Incidence of Covid-19 in adolescents and young adults is falling significantly and we are seeing early encouraging signs that the rate of infection plateauing in children of school-going age. NPHET will continue to monitor this trend over the coming weeks.
"Vaccination continues to offer the best protection against the most severe effects of Covid-19 including hospitalisation and death.
"Anyone yet to avail of vaccination is strongly encouraged to do so. Local vaccination sites are available on hse.ie."
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced updates to Ireland's vaccination programme on the foot of recommendations from NIAC and the Chief Medical Officer.
Dr Holohan endorsed the recommendations made by NIAC, which means thousands of vulnerable and elderly people will be in line to receive booster shots.
An additional dose of an mRNA vaccine will be made available for those people aged 65 and older who are living in Long Term Residential Care Facilities.
People who are 80 years of age and above and who are living in the community will also be offered the jab.