Webinar: Pregnant Women & Vaccines Against Emerging Epidemic Threats – by Carleigh Krubiner

3. Pregnant Women and Vaccines Image

Zika virus, H1N1 influenza, and Ebola have shown how outbreaks can severely and uniquely affect pregnant women and their offspring.These examples highlight the critical need to proactively consider pregnant women in vaccine research agendas and deployment efforts. New vaccines are rarely designed with pregnant women in mind, and evidence about safety and efficacy in pregnancy is often limited and late in coming. Consequently, in numerous outbreaks, pregnant women have been denied vaccines that would have protected them and their offspring from severe epidemic threats.

This webinar explores how the exclusion of pregnant women from research can result in public health threats and social injustices for an entire class of women across their reproductive journeys, with a focus on how this can play out in epidemic threats. This also includes a discussion of recently published guidance for how epidemic vaccines can be developed and deployed to ethically and equitably include the interests of pregnant women.

The Guidance puts forth 22 recommendations across 3 areas: preparedness, vaccine R&D, and vaccine deployment. They cover appropriate inclusion in vaccine research and campaigns, and issues related to communication, liability, and the vaccine pipeline. A central theme of the Guidance is to shift away from the current default position of excluding pregnant women from vaccine research and delivery, and to establish the presumption of inclusion – that pregnant women should be considered eligible unless the risks to them and their offspring outweigh the potential benefits of vaccination.


Video courtesy of Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics


Dr. Carleigh Krubiner

Dr. Carleigh Krubiner is a Policy Fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC and associate faculty at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. Her work focuses on ethical issues surrounding equitable development and delivery of health interventions in low and middle-income settings. Most recently, she served as the project director for the PREVENT project (Pregnancy Research Ethics for Vaccines, Epidemics, and New Technologies), working on guidance for the just inclusion of the interests of pregnant women in vaccine R&D and deployment. She also works on strategies to consider ethics and equity in health priority setting on the path to Universal Health Coverage.


Image by Daryl Wilkerson Jr. on Pexels