Sylvia Jeffreys has admitted she is unlikely to get the coronavirus vaccine while pregnant, calling it a ‘difficult’ decision.
The 34-year-old is currently pregnant with her second child, after going through gruelling rounds of IVF to conceive her first son, Oscar.
The country’s largest-ever vaccine rollout is underway with 60,000 Australians expected to roll up their sleeves for their first dose this week.
Questions remain whether the vaccine is safe for pregnant women amid advice it isn’t ‘routinely recommended’ by the federal health department.
Sceptism about the vaccine was a hot discussion topic when well-known GP Dr Kerryn Phelps and journalist Sarrah Le Marquand appeared on the Today Show on Wednesday.
Jeffreys, who’s seven months pregnant with her second son due in April, was drawn into the debate by co-host Karl Stefanovic – her brother-in-law – who asked if she had concerns about the vaccine.
Sylvia Jeffreys (pictured right with husband Peter Stefanovic) admits she would unlikely get the coronavirus vaccine while pregnant or while trying to conceive
‘I’ve been trying my very best to find as many facts on this and to find the clear information and to find the clear information and government guidelines on this from health professionals,’ Jeffreys said.
‘At this point, being pregnant, if it were offered to me today, I probably wouldn’t have it. But I would, first of all, consult my GP on that.’
Jeffreys admitted she would also have second thoughts if she was still trying to get pregnant.
‘I would be hanging in doubt because I think there have been mixed messages from the top around this at the moment,’ she said.
‘But I completely understand why there is hesitancy among this demographic because, as Dr Kerryn Phelps says, there just isn’t the facts available at this stage.
‘It’s a difficult one. As Sarrah said as well, hopefully the rest of the population is confident enough to help us to achieve that golden number.’
Sylvia Jeffreys (pictured weighing into the vaccine debate on Wednesday) says there is not enough information or research around coronavirus jab and pregnancy
The expectant mum later assured everyone she will be happy to get the vaccine as soon as she’s eligible
Jeffreys was then cut short by her co-host and brother-in-law who moved the conversation back to the medical experts.
‘Perfectly said and perfectly surmised,’ Stefanovic said before turning to Dr Phelps for her advice to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Jeffreys took to social media shortly afterwards to assure fans she will get the vaccine as soon as she’s eligible on the advice of her doctor.
‘I trust the experts and I’ll follow the advice of my GP. And to be clear, I’ll be glad to get the vaccine as soon as I am eligible to do so,’ she tweeted.
A recent poll from the Melbourne Institute’s Pulse of the Nation revealed that 35 per cent of Australian women aged 25-34 wouldn’t get the vaccine.
Sylvia Jeffreys was drawn into the vaccine debate by co-host Karl Stefanovic (centre), pictured with panellists Dr Kerryn Phelps (left) and Sarrah Le Marquand (right)
Jeffreys (left) is currently seven months pregnant with her second son due in April. She’s pictured with husband Peter (right) and firstborn son Oscar
Covid vaccine recommendations for pregnant women
The federal government does not routinely recommend COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy. You and your health professional can consider it if the potential benefits of vaccination outweigh any potential risks. You should consider having a COVID-19 vaccine during your pregnancy if:
• you have medical risk factors for severe COVID-19
• you are at high risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 or very likely to be in contact with people with COVID-19.
You may prefer to wait until after your pregnancy to be vaccinated if:
• you have no risk factors for severe COVID-19
• you are not at high risk of exposure to COVID-19
Dr Phelps urged anyone with doubts about the coronavirus vaccine to seek advice from their GP.
‘That’s why we say to people who are thinking about vaccination, who are hesitant, to speak to your GP, get the reassurances you need, find out the reassurances you need, find out the facts from reliable sources,’ she told the program.
‘One of the worst things you can do is go to one of the conspiracy theory Facebook pages and be scared away from being vaccinated based on misinformation.
‘What we need is people to rely on facts. Your GP is the best place to go to to be able to talk through these issues.’
Stefanovic asked if it was okay for pregnant women to wait before getting the jab, saying he understood why people wanted to wait until more results were available.
‘If you’re pregnant and you don’t want to get that vaccination, and look I’m all for it too, there is no-one more pro this in the country than me but I just want to reiterate,’ he said
‘[But] if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, what’s wrong with waiting a little while until we see some of the results from overseas before getting it?’
Dr Phelps said pregnant women are currently not being offered the vaccination but says it will be a evolving situation.
Australian Border Force worker Alysha Eyre (pictured) was among the first Australians to roll up their sleeves for the coronavirus vaccine on Sunday
HOW SAFE IS THE PFIZER VACCINE?
Scientists have carried out extensive clinical trials on the Pfizer vaccine and established that it is safe to use.
And the UK regulator rubber-stamped it with a seal of approval, saying it was safe to administer, after evaluating data from 44,000 volunteers in the trials.
But they issued an advisory notice saying that those with a history of allergies should not get the vaccine.
Concerns have been raised over the speed with which the vaccine was approved – in a matter of months – but scientists have said no corners were cut and this was possible due to the enormous number of volunteers that signed up for the clinical trials.
Pfizer and BioNTech both said they found no serious safety concerns during their four-month long trials.
A spokesman for Pfizer said their jab was ‘generally well tolerated with no serious safety concerns reported’.
‘The trial has enrolled over 44,000 participants to date, over 42,000 of whom have received a second vaccination.’
Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, said that the vaccine was ‘extremely safe’ and that he would be cautious about attributing the allergic reactions to the jab.
‘I think it’s probably safer in my view than many other vaccines currently available,’ he told MailOnline. ‘It really is very clean technology.’
‘I would be cautious about attributing the allergic reactions to the vaccine at this moment, especially as it hasn’t cropped up in clinical trials,’ he said.
‘The big allergic reaction to vaccines normally is an egg allergy, because historically influenza vaccines and several others have been grown in hens eggs and you inevitably get a bit of egg protein coming through with the final product.
‘But there’s nothing like that in the mRNA vaccine. The only addition is the lipid coating that they put on the mRNA before it goes into cells – but there’s no history of allergic reactions to that.’
He added that the MHRA had been ‘cautious’ in saying that those with a history of allergies should not get the vaccine.
Professor Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project, told Sky News the vaccine was approved so quickly due to a ramping up of its clinical trials.
‘The safety regulatory process is still there but the time frame between things, they’ve tried to shorten, just in terms of it’s not sitting in a pile of things to be approved,’ she said.
Woman, 94, and man, 88, are given ‘FOUR times the recommended dose’ of Covid vaccine in jab bungle in Queensland – leaving one in hospital
Two elderly people have been given four times the recommended dose of the Covid vaccine in a jab bungle in Queensland.
An 94-year-old woman and an 88-year-old man were given the higher than the prescribed amount of the Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday – the second day of Australia’s Covid vaccination rollout.
The pair, who are residents at the Holy Spirit Nursing Home Carseldine in Brisbane, have not yet suffered any adverse effects from the additional dosage.
The man has been hospitalised following the bungle and both aged care residents continue to be monitored.
The doctor who administered the jab is contracted by the Federal Government and he has since been stood down from the program.
Two elderly people have been given an ‘excessive amount’ of the Covid vaccine in a jab bungle in Queensland. Pictured: Medical workers prepare the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at the Hyatt quarantine hotel in Perth on Monday
Minister for Health Greg Hunt addressed the vaccine rollout and bungle in Queensland on Wednesday morning.
‘There has been one case, following all the safeguards we put in place, of what has been defined as an adverse administration,’ he said.
‘Basically, a doctor gave an incorrect dose to two patients yesterday. I think it’s very important that we’re up-front.
‘The safeguards that were put in place immediately kicked into action.’
Mr Hunt said a nurse on the scene identified the fact that a higher than the prescribed amount of the dose was given to the two patients.
The health minister said they would review the event and circumstances surrounding the bungle.
An 94-year-old woman and an 88-year-old man were given the higher than the prescribed amount of the Pfizer vaccine