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VACCINES

Reader Question: Can pregnant women receive a Covid-19 vaccination in Germany?

Pregnant women don’t yet belong to a vaccine priority group in Germany. Are they still able to receive a vaccination?

Reader Question: Can pregnant women receive a Covid-19 vaccination in Germany?
A woman in Essen receives a vaccine on Friday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jonas Güttler

While some studies have shown that pregnant women could be at a higher risk if they were to contract coronavirus, Germany has so far held off including them in official vaccination priority groups. 

Most states are currently vaccinating the third group, which includes people over 60, those with certain pre-existing medical conditions, and a list of professions which work heavily with the public. On Monday May 17th, Health Minister Jens Spahn also announced that Germany would open up vaccines to everyone over 16 starting on June 7th.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: When will I be in line for a Covid-19 vaccination in Germany?

What if I’m pregnant and happen to be on a priority list due to my profession or a pre-existing condition?

It’s possible that you could make an appointment at a vaccination centre for another reason, such as your line of work. However, “there’s a good chance you’d be turned away if they see you’re pregnant,” one gynecologist in Berlin, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Local.

She pointed out that most vaccination centres include a mandatory form to be filled out before the appointment, with a question asking if a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding. 

As Germany still is erring on the side of caution, anyone who checks this box is unlikely to be able to receive the vaccine just yet, she said.

However, doctors and gynecologists can decide at their own discretion whether to offer pregnant or breastfeeding women the vaccine. 

If they did, it would likely be with BioNTech/Pfizer or Moderna, both which use mRNA technology and have been safely observed in studies in the US (more on this below). 

So what does Germany offer to protect pregnant women from the virus?

For a couple of months, pregnant women in Germany have been able to designate two close contacts – who officially belong to priority group two – to receive a coronavirus vaccination.

The pregnant women are required to provide those names to their doctors, usually their gynecologists. The women will then receive two invitation letters with a registration number that they can pass on to their contacts in order to make an appointment, either through calling their local appointment hotline or through a website like Doctolib. 

Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women?

Within Germany, there are mixed messages about whether pregnant women should receive the coronavirus vaccine.

For now, Germany’s STIKO (Vaccine Commission) is holding off on making a general recommendation. 

On Tuesday, May 18th, however, they recommended the vaccine for pregnant women who have an “increased risk of exposure due to their circumstances.”

Women should first receive an individual examination from their gynecologists, said Marianne Röbl-Mathieu, a STIKO representative, to the Funke Mediengruppe.

The Professional Association of Gynecologists, together with other medical organisations, including the German Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics (DGGG), has called for pregnant and breastfeeding women to be offered priority vaccination with mRNA technology (such as BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna, both available throughout Germany).

Saxony’s Vaccine Commission also recommended shots from BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna be used for pregnant women, particularly those in their second trimester.

The associations justified their recommendations with study results from abroad and from within Germany, pointing out that a severe course of Covid-19 increases with pregnancy. 

Compared to non-pregnant women, pregnant women infected with the virus require intensive medical care about six times more often and ventilation more than 23 times as often, they said.

EXPLAINED: How do I prove that I belong to one of Germany’s vaccine priority groups?

Several countries, including the UK and Austria, have recommended vaccines to pregnant women. 

In its recommendation, the UK referred to initial data from the United States. There, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 94,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated against Covid-19, mainly with the mRNA vaccines. 

There have been no specific safety concerns, US officials report.

Member comments

      1. Yesterday from https://www.saechsische.de/coronavirus/coronavirus-sachsen-dresden-ticker-lockerungen-impftermine-mai-notbremse-5176217.html

        13.53 Uhr: Sachsens Impfkommission empfiehlt Impfungen für Schwangere

        Die Sächsische Impfkommission hat am Dienstag eine Empfehlung herausgegeben, dass auch Schwangere mit den Impfstoffen von Biontech und Moderna geimpft werden können. Die Impfungen sollen ab dem zweiten Schwangerschaftstrimester stattfinden, optimal in der 20. bis 24. Schwangerschaftswoche. Auch für Stillende wird nun eine Impfung empfohlen. Beim Impfen dieser Gruppe ist Deutschland noch zurückhaltend, einheitliche Regelungen gibt es bisher nicht.

        „Viele Menschen, die schwanger sind, warten auf Impfungen“, sagte Sachsens Gesundheitsministerin Petra Köpping (SPD) im Rahmen er Kabinettspressekonferenz am Dienstag. Bisher werden nur enge Kontaktpersonen von Schwangeren geimpft, nicht die Schwangeren selbst. Auf eine bundeseinheitliche Empfehlung der Ständigen Impfkommission wolle Sachsen daher nicht weiter warten.

  1. Yesterday from https://www.saechsische.de/coronavirus/coronavirus-sachsen-dresden-ticker-lockerungen-impftermine-mai-notbremse-5176217.html

    13.53 Uhr: Sachsens Impfkommission empfiehlt Impfungen für Schwangere

    Die Sächsische Impfkommission hat am Dienstag eine Empfehlung herausgegeben, dass auch Schwangere mit den Impfstoffen von Biontech und Moderna geimpft werden können. Die Impfungen sollen ab dem zweiten Schwangerschaftstrimester stattfinden, optimal in der 20. bis 24. Schwangerschaftswoche. Auch für Stillende wird nun eine Impfung empfohlen. Beim Impfen dieser Gruppe ist Deutschland noch zurückhaltend, einheitliche Regelungen gibt es bisher nicht.

    „Viele Menschen, die schwanger sind, warten auf Impfungen“, sagte Sachsens Gesundheitsministerin Petra Köpping (SPD) im Rahmen er Kabinettspressekonferenz am Dienstag. Bisher werden nur enge Kontaktpersonen von Schwangeren geimpft, nicht die Schwangeren selbst. Auf eine bundeseinheitliche Empfehlung der Ständigen Impfkommission wolle Sachsen daher nicht weiter warten.

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VACCINES

Major milestone: more than 40 million Germans vaccinated against Covid

More than 40 million people in Germany have received at least one vaccination against the coronavirus so far, while a quarter of the population are fully inoculated, new government data shows.

Major milestone: more than 40 million Germans vaccinated against Covid
A vaccine is prepared in Munich. credit: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

Cracking the 40 million mark means that 48.1 percent of the total population has now received at least a first jab against the disease, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) that was released on Saturday.

Some 21.35 million people have received both jabs while 60.1 million vaccine doses have been administered in Germany so far.

This week, for the first time, the million mark in daily vaccinations was cracked on three days, Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) wrote on Twitter. According to the RKI, about two-thirds of all vaccinations have been administered in vaccination centres, and one-third in doctors’ offices.

Among the states, Bremen continues to record the highest proportion of people with first-time vaccinations at 52.9 percent, with Saxony bringing up the rear at 43.0 percent.

Meanwhile Saarland has the highest proportion of residents with full coverage, at 30.4 percent, and has also administered the most vaccine doses per resident to date.

While the first five months of the vaccine programme were based on a priority list, since Monday everyone resident in the country can register themselves for a vaccine appointment.

Case rate continues to fall

Health authorities reported 1,911 new infections to the RKI on Saturday morning. A week ago that figure stood at 2,294 new infections. The seven-day incidence dropped lightly to 18.3 from 18.6 cases per 100,000 people on Friday.

Nationwide, 129 new deaths were recorded within 24 hours on Saturday.

Opposition plans inquiry into pandemic failures

Wolfgang Kubicki, deputy leader of the Free Democrats, has said his party will push for a Bundestag inquiry into the pandemic response after September’s national election.

“There needs to be a parliamentary review of this after the election,” Kubicki said on Saturday at a party convention. “That was the announcement of a committee of inquiry,” he confirmed when asked for clarification by a journalist.

Kubicki criticized, among other things, the purchase of “unfit masks” by Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU). He said that the committee would also look into controversial aspects of the pandemic response including the government’s testing strategy and the disputes over whether intensive care units reached breaking point.

SEE ALSO: 7 things the Covid-19 crisis has taught us about Germany

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