The medical landscape is evolving rapidly in response to the ongoing battle against Covid-19. Recently, the German Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) recommended Covid-19 booster shots exclusively for pregnant women at higher risk.
However, diverging from this guidance, multiple medical societies now advocate booster shots for all pregnant women and those planning pregnancy. This initiative aims to reduce the risks associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection for expectant mothers and their unborn children.
Urgent Call for Booster Shots
In an effort to mitigate the risks associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnancy, several medical societies are urging all pregnant women and those contemplating pregnancy to receive a Covid-19 booster with an Omicron-adapted vaccine this autumn.
While the individual risk of infection and severe Covid-19 complications has decreased due to the immunity acquired through vaccination and/or prior infection, as well as the circulation of the less aggressive Omicron variant, a notable uptick in case numbers is already evident. Furthermore, expectations of a surge in cases during the winter months are on the horizon.
Data from CRONOS Registry
The recommendation is underpinned by data from the CRONOS registry and the CRONOS-Satellites project, which highlight an increased risk of adverse events and hospitalization in pregnant individuals who contract the virus. This risk extends to infections involving the Omicron variant.
Furthermore, the safety of vaccination during pregnancy is supported by the well-documented safety profile of the Comirnaty® vaccine (developed by Biontech/Pfizer). Moreover, a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from March 2022 to May 2023 reveals that children born to mothers vaccinated during pregnancy required hospitalization for Covid-19 less frequently within the first six months of life.
Diverging from STIKO’s Recommendation
It’s noteworthy that this joint statement from various medical societies extends beyond the recommendation provided by the German Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO). Presently, STIKO suggests an additional booster shot only for pregnant women at increased risk due to underlying conditions like obesity or diabetes mellitus/gestational diabetes.
The collaborative statement is endorsed by the German Society for Gynecology and Obstetrics (DGGG), the Working Group for Obstetrics and Prenatal Medicine within DGGG (AGG), the German Society for Perinatal Medicine (DGPM), and the German Society for Prenatal and Perinatal Medicine (DGPGM).