Covid-19 SA: Vaccines safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women

COVID-19 vaccinations are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. This is the finding of Wits University scientists who recently reviewed the effect of the vaccine during pregnancy.

The narrative review by scientists identified no major safety concerns in the use of mostly mRNA (messenger RNA) Covid-19 vaccines among pregnant women. The lead author, Professor Marta Nunes of the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Analytics (Wits VIDA) research unit in the Faculty of Health Sciences, said pregnant women and their unborn babies are both protected when the mother gets the jab.

“Pregnant women should receive the Covid-19 vaccination and the main reason being that Covid-19 disease during pregnancy can affect the outcome of the pregnancy, so they should protect themselves,” said Nunes.

No adverse side effects among pregnant women

She said their literature review indicated that pregnant women experience the same side effects as the general population.

“The bottom line is that there are no safety concerns about vaccinating women during pregnancy. Women when they are pregnant and they get viral diseases, they are more prone to poor pregnancy outcomes like stillbirth,” she said.

According to UNICEF, although severe illness from Covid-19 remains low, pregnancy puts one at a higher risk of severe illness compared to people who are not pregnant.

Nunes also stated that the review showed that pregnant women mount immune responses to Covid-19 vaccines comparable to non-pregnant counterparts, hence they must get vaccinated.

“Women can be vaccinated at any stage during pregnancy, so of course, if they get vaccinated earlier, they are also protecting themselves for a longer period,” said Nunes.

Babies born to vaccinated moms

Studies also show that babies born to vaccinated mothers are less likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19.

“The beauty of vaccinating pregnant women is that antibodies are crossed through the placenta, and they also protect the baby,” said Nunes.

She said the vaccine is also safe for mothers breastfeeding their newborn babies.

“So breastfeeding women should be vaccinated against Covid-19, and it has also been shown that if they get the vaccine while pregnant or while they are breastfeeding, their antibodies are created after vaccination.” – Health-e News.


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