Pregnant women and those who are planning to conceive are encouraged to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera
Pregnant women and those who are planning to conceive are encouraged to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Photo: REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera

Pregnant women and those planning to conceive are encouraged to get Covid-19 vaccine

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Sep 1, 2021

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Pregnant women and those who are planning to conceive are encouraged to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

This is according to the latest updated circular on the vaccination for pregnant and breastfeeding women by the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on Covid-19 Vaccines.

The circular, signed by the Health department's Deputy Director-General, Dr Nicholas Crisp, read that “although the risk is small, pregnant and postnatal women are at increased risk of severe Covid-19 disease compared to their non-pregnant counterparts.”

In addition, the circular said expecting women face an increased risk of preterm birth and other adverse obstetric outcomes.

The latest recommendations have advised that both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) jabs can be offered.

“Everyone 18 years and older is now eligible to be vaccinated, and women 18 years and older should therefore be offered vaccination during any stage of pregnancy, and during breastfeeding,”

“The strong immune response following vaccination and the benefits of immune transfer to the baby, and ongoing safety monitoring of vaccine use in pregnancy. Furthermore, there are no known risks associated with other non-live vaccines given routinely to pregnant women,” read the circular.

However, where it is impossible, mothers-to-be should be directed to their nearest vaccination sites.

“Healthcare workers are encouraged to discuss the benefits and possible risks of Covid-19 vaccination with their patients,” said the MAC.

These discussions, according to the Department of Health, should include the increased risk in pregnant women when compared to non-pregnant women, growing evidence supporting the safety of vaccines, strong immune response following vaccination and the benefits of immune transfer to the baby, and ongoing safety monitoring of vaccine use in pregnancy.

Meanwhile, the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States concluded that Covid-19 vaccines are well-tolerated by people who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or lactating, further suggesting the benefits of having the vaccine far outweighs the risks.

The CDC study is one of the largest of its kind and drew data from a survey of more than 17,000 individuals.

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