GENEVA (NewsNation Now) — The World Health Organization issued interim recommendations Tuesday on the use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and advised pregnant women not to receive it.
The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, known as SAGE, said it did not recommend the Moderna vaccine for pregnant women unless they are health workers exposed to the virus or have medical conditions putting them at high risk.
“While pregnancy puts women at a higher risk of severe COVID-19, the use of this vaccine in pregnant women is currently not recommended, unless they are at risk of high exposure (e.g. health workers),” the release said.
WHO director of immunization Kate O’Brien said that clinical trials of the Moderna vaccine were needed on pregnant women.
“There is no reason to think there could be a problem in pregnancy, we are just acknowledging the data is not there at the moment,” she said.
SAGE also said that the vaccine should be given in two doses at an interval of 28 days, which could be extended under exceptional circumstances to 42 days.
“The main recommendation for the use of this (Moderna) vaccine is that based on the current elements we recommend it should be given in doses of 100 micrograms or 0.5 ml with an interval of 28 days,” Alejandro Cravioto, panel chair, told a news briefing.
“This interval might be moved to 42 days but the evidence we have does not go beyond that time,” he said.
WHO said it was working with the company to its approval of the shot for WHO emergency use listing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued recommendations last week saying while COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women haven’t been studied clinically, they believe the Moderna vaccine is unlikely to pose a risk since it is an mRNA vaccine, not a live vaccine, and will be degraded quickly “by normal cellular processes.”
The CDC also advised while there is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating people, mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk on the breastfeeding infant.
The guidance on Moderna from WHO came several weeks after issuing their recommendations on the Pfizer vaccine, the only other approved vaccine in the United States. WHO also recommended that pregnant women do not receive the Pfizer vaccine at this time due to lack of data.
Across the United States, more than 44.3 million vaccine doses have been distributed but only 23.5 million have been administered, according to the CDC. The Biden administration announced Tuesday it ordered 200 million more vaccines and will funnel more doses to states in a bid to deliver on Biden’s plan to curb the pandemic.
There have been more than 25.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 425,000 deaths from the virus in the United States, according to data complied by Johns Hopkins University.
You can read the full interim recommendations for the Moderna issued by WHO below:
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.