All pregnant women now eligible for COVID vaccine, province says

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Pregnant women can schedule an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a regional health authority community clinic. (Shutterstock/Bernardo Emanuell - image credit)
Pregnant women can schedule an appointment to receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a regional health authority community clinic. (Shutterstock/Bernardo Emanuell - image credit)

All pregnant women in New Brunswick are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, says the Department of Health.

The province made the change based on the recent recommendation of the Society of Obstetricians of Gynecologists of Canada, department spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane said Tuesday.

"Pregnant women who have COVID-19 appear to be more likely to develop respiratory complications requiring intensive care, and require ventilation, compared to non-pregnant women," he said in an emailed statement.

"They are also at increased risk of giving birth prematurely and their babies are more frequent admission to the neonatal unit."

Medical professionals were to be advised Tuesday of the revised policy, Macfarlane said.

Until now, New Brunswick had prioritized pregnant women with two or more chronic medical conditions. This was based on evidence from the Society of Obstetricians of Gynecologists that severe morbidity from COVID-19 appeared to be greater in women with such risk factors, he said.

Last week, the society called on all provincial governments to immediately prioritize COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women, citing the "alarming situation with pregnant woman with COVID-19 in ICUs in Ontario."

"There is currently a daily wave of pregnant women coming into Ontario ICUs, many requiring ventilators," the society said in a news release on April 15. "These women are getting extremely sick, very quickly."

Pregnant women in New Brunswick can book an appointment to receive their vaccine at a Horizon Health Network or Vitalité Health Network community clinic by registering online. If they are unable to book online, they can call 1-833-437-1424.