Decision to offer COVID-19 vaccine to pregnant women in Scotland: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

  1. A copy of all correspondence including the then First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, relating to the decision to offer COVID-19 vaccines to pregnant women in Scotland. The vaccine was originally advised NOT to be given to pregnant women, but the Government policy changed on this during summer 2021. Please provide any and all correspondence relating to the change in this policy decision, including correspondence with the CMO Gregor Smith, National Clinical Director Jason Leith, then Health Secretaries Jeane Freeman and Humza Yousaf and any other public health advisors – such as the Deputy CMO and Public Health experts including but not limited to Devi Sridhar and Linda Bauld.
  2. In relation to the above, please provide copies of any relevant reference papers or studies that were used by the Scottish Government to inform their decision to change the advice on promoting the COVID-19 vaccine to pregnant women in Scotland. This should include safety studies and risk assessments.


The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) provides advice on immunisation to all UK Health Departments, including on the efficacy and safety of vaccines. Details of the JCVI are available here: Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation - GOV.UK.

On 16 April 2021 the JCVI advised that pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group: JCVI issues new advice on COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women - GOV.UK.

The safety of all vaccines and medicines is monitored by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on a UK-wide basis. Concerns over the safety of vaccines are not taken lightly. Please be assured that the MHRA keep the safety of all vaccines under close and continual review, and would take appropriate regulatory action if new evidence emerged which called into question the safety of any vaccines currently in use in Scotland. The MHRA guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) is available here: MHRA guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19) - GOV.UK.

A copy of some of the information you requested is attached.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested.

Further information relating to the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy is available online. Please see the following publications:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - vaccine: letter from the Chief Medical Officer updating on the vaccination programme - 1 January 2021 - 

COVID-19 vaccination programme (

Coronavirus (COVID-19): letter from Chief Medical Officer on pregnancy and vaccines -

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact us again and we will send you a paper copy.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

202300353467_Attachment 1
202300353467_Attachment 2


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top