Canada to research efficacy, safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy

The Government of Canada will invest approximately $1.3 million for two studies on vaccine safety and effectiveness in pregnant women.

While pregnant or breastfeeding individuals were excluded from the initial mRNA and viral vector Covid-19 clinical trials, recent real-world evidence is showing that mRNA Covid-19 vaccines are safe during pregnancy. Additional research and surveillance of Covid-19 vaccination among pregnant and lactating populations is needed.

The results will be communicated regularly to public health officials to help inform decision making for the ongoing Covid-19 vaccine administration programme.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia, leading the first study called COVERED, are launching a Covid-19 vaccine registry for pregnant and breastfeeding people across Canada.

“We are asking pregnant and breastfeeding individuals in all 10 provinces and three territories to sign-up for the registry, after which they will be invited to fill out a survey,” said study lead researcher Deborah Money, Professor at the varsity’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

“Through this registry and survey, we will monitor the safety of the various vaccines for those who are pregnant and breastfeeding. We will also study whether the vaccines are more effective — or less so — in this group. It is important that these data become available to pregnant and breastfeeding individuals so that they are able to make an informed choice about getting a Covid-19 vaccine,” she added.

The second study will link information collected from the Better Outcomes Registry and Network (BORN) Ontario Registry, which collects data from every baby born in Ontario, with the province’s vaccination registry from the Ontario Ministry of Health (COVaxON).

Researchers will monitor the health outcomes and effect of vaccines on mothers and their babies, comparing individuals who received a Covid-19 vaccine during pregnancy, or just before, with those who did not.

The findings from this study will help to fully inform pregnant people, their care providers, and public health policymakers.