Vaccines — Open Access Journal
(Accessed 8 Dec 2018)
Open Access Perspective
Clinical Trials and Administration of Zika Virus Vaccine in Pregnant Women: Lessons (that Should Have Been) Learned from Excluding Immunization with the Ebola Vaccine during Pregnancy and Lactation
by David A. Schwartz
Vaccines 2018, 6(4), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines6040081 – 4 December 2018
As evidenced from recent epidemics, both Ebola and Zika virus infection are potentially catastrophic when occurring in pregnant women. Ebola virus causes extremely high rates of mortality in both mothers and infants; Zika virus is a TORCH infection that produces a congenital malformation syndrome and pediatric neurodevelopmental abnormalities. Production of efficacious vaccines has been a public health priority for both infections. Unfortunately, during the clinical trials and subsequent deployment of a vaccine for the Ebola virus, pregnant and lactating women were, and continue to be, excluded from receiving the life-saving vaccine. The most serious consequence of Zika virus infection, congenital Zika syndrome, results from fetal infection during pregnancy. Thus, pregnant women have a major stake in the ongoing development of a vaccine for Zika virus. The exclusion of pregnant women from the development, clinical trials and administration of a potential Zika vaccine unfairly deprives them and their infants of the protection they need against this potentially catastrophic intrauterine infection. When creating policy about these issues, it is important to critically evaluate vaccine safety in pregnancy in the context of the substantial risk of infection for the pregnant woman and her fetus in the absence of immunization.