COVID-19 and Your Pregnancy: Is The Vaccine Safe?
A number of corona virus vaccines have been granted emergency use across the world. Deciding on getting vaccinated is a personal choice. Any of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines can be offered to people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, with the Pfizer vaccine showing a
What does that mean for you if you’re pregnant or recently had a baby? Here’s what to know right now.
Can you get the COVID-19 vaccine when pregnant or breastfeeding?
Being pregnant doesn’t disqualify any woman from receiving the vaccine. However, all COVID-19 vaccines are available in limited quantities, with every country prioritizing the rollout differently. In South Africa, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize stated in January that pregnant women and new-borns will not be vaccinated for now, because they there’s no record of pregnant women participating in trials to determine the safety of the vaccine.
“There haven’t been any recorded serious side effects. However, there are mild like reported allergic reactions and so on. There have not been trials done on pregnant women and new-born babies and therefore, there will not be included in the vaccination initially, until all of those issues are sorted out.” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Are the vaccines safe if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding?
The COVID-19 vaccines currently in circulation have been proven safe and effective in people who are not pregnant, clinical trials are under way to address their safety and efficacy during pregnancy and for breastfeeding mothers.
There’s simply no adequate safety data available at this moment to determine if any of these vaccines are safe for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. That said, leading experts from health and safety institutions such as the WHO and the CDC, note that mRNA vaccines like the ones from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna do not contain any live virus, and therefore are not thought to pose a risk to unborn babies or nursing infants.
They also note that, for pregnant women, the risks of contracting COVID-19— including increased risk of pre-term birth — may be higher than the potential risks of being vaccinated while pregnant.
Will babies and children be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
It will probably take longer for babies and younger children to be vaccinated. Only recently have children in the U.S. been included in clinical trials. Pfizer began enrolling children 12 and up in their trials in late September 2020, with Moderna following suit in December 2020.
If you’re pregnant and eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine right now, talk to your practitioner if you have concerns about whether you should receive it. Ultimately, it’s your decision.
Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)
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