Can pregnant women take COVID-19 vaccines? Health authorities are divided due to the lack of trials data
- In its recent advisory, the World Health Organization recommended that pregnant women not be administered with the COVID-19 vaccine unless proper data is available.
- The CDC seems to be divided on this and says the vaccine is safe for pregnant women, but the person getting vaccinated should discuss with their doctors.
- The WHO said the vaccination is fully safe for lactating women as the vaccine shots are unlikely to pose a breastfeeding child’s risk.
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AdvertisementIn its recent advisory, The World Health Organization said that the use of COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women should be restricted until more data is available.
While pregnancy puts women at a higher risk of severe COVID-19, the use of this vaccine in pregnant women is currently not recommended unless they are at a higher risk of exposure such as healthcare workers. It added there isn’t enough data available on vaccination of pregnant women to assess vaccine efficacy or vaccine-associated risks in pregnancy.
“In the interim recommends not to use mRNA-1273 in pregnancy, unless the benefit of vaccinating a pregnant woman outweighs the potential vaccine risks, such as in health workers at high risk of exposure and pregnant women with co-morbidities placing them in a high-risk group for severe Covid-19,” the advisory read.
The organization further said that it does not recommend pregnancy testing prior to vaccination and nor does it recommend delaying pregnancy post the vaccination. The vaccination is fully safe for lactating women as the vaccine shots are unlikely to pose a risk to the breastfeeding child. “As the mRNA-1273 vaccine is not a live virus vaccine and the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell and is degraded quickly, it is biologically and clinically unlikely to pose a risk to the breastfeeding child,” it said.
The Indian health ministry has also recommended that the pregnant and lactating women should not be administered the shots as they have not been part of any anti-coronavirus vaccine clinical trial so far.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seems to disagree with the WHO’s recommendation. The CDC recommendation says the vaccine is safe for pregnant women, but the person getting vaccinated should discuss it with their doctors first.
These are the key considerations from the CDC that pregnant patients can discuss with their healthcare provider:
- The likelihood of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Risks of COVID-19 to them and potential risks to their fetuses.
- What is known about the vaccine: how well it works to develop protection in the body, known side effects of the vaccine, and lack of data during pregnancy.
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