Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 28, 2023


COVID-19 Vaccinations

313 The Hon. S.L. GAME ().18 October 2023).

1. What evidence supports the Department for Health's advice that mRNA COVID vaccines are safe for pregnant women and for the fetus?

2. Has the Department for Health reported or investigated a rise in health complications suffered by newborn babies whose mothers have been injected with a mRNA COVID vaccine whilst pregnant?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): The Minister for Health and Wellbeing has advised:

The Australian Immunisation Handbook states;

Unvaccinated pregnant women are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Unvaccinated pregnant women are recommended to receive a primary course of COVID-19 vaccine.

mRNA based vaccines are preferred in pregnancy based on the large body of evidence supporting the safety of monovalent mRNA vaccines in pregnancy.

The above recommendations are also endorsed by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists stating on its website 'COVID-19 vaccines are strongly recommended in pregnancy. Vaccination is the best way to protect against the known risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy for both women and babies, including admission of the woman to intensive care and premature birth of the baby.'

The Australian Advisory Group on Immunisations (ATAGI) Clinical Guidance for COVID-19 vaccine providers outlines the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy and breastfeeding stating that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in pregnancy. The adverse event profile of pregnant women is similar to that of non-pregnant women following vaccination with a monovalent (Original) mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

There has been no evidence found through the SA vaccine safety surveillance system, or nationally, to suggest any increase in complications suffered by newborn babies whose mothers received a mRNA COVID vaccine whilst pregnant.