As the world grapples with the after math of the pandemic and those eligible queue up to get their jabs, pregnant women seem to be caught in the middle. "Does COVID vaccine affect pregnancy?" "Can it harm my unborn child? "Will it affect my health?" are some questions raised by expecting mums across the globe.
And it looks like a recent case might provide more insights into these queries.
In an unfortunate incident, two pregnant mums from Hong Kong–who received their COVID-19 shots–suffered miscarriages. The women were administered the BioNTech vaccine, but no link to the jabs has been established, so far.
"Currently, there is no evidence indicating that the two cases were related to vaccination," said a statement by the country's health department.
Pregnant Women In Hong Kong Suffer Miscarriages, After Their COVID-19 Vaccine Shots
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In one of the cases, a 32-year-old woman suffered a 23 to 24-weeks-old.
She had received a jab at St Paul’s Hospital Community Vaccination Centre. There was no record of her complaining of feeling unwell at the centre. Authorities further did not state if she had indicated to staff that she was pregnant.
The other case also involved a 32-year-old woman, who confirmed her pregnancy on March 25. She was admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on March 31, after she complained of vaginal bleeding. Unfortunately, she also miscarried. The woman had received a dose of the BioNTech vaccine shot on March 23.
The two cases came to light after a medical source told the media about the incidents. The health department stated that it will refer the cases to an expert panel for further investigation.
While experts urged people to not jump to any conclusions and to wait for the final investigation.
Commenting on this incident, BioNTech said its Covid-19 vaccines were not “routinely recommended” during pregnancy. This is unless a person was seen to have a very high risk of coronavirus exposure.
Does Covid Vaccine Affect Pregnancy?
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The inadequate data on the topic is quite concerning because expecting mums are at an increased risk of severe illness. These illnesses can also lead to intensive care admission, mechanical ventilation, or even fatality.
Considering the health risks, vaccination is extremely important for you if you are pregnant. But, only if you have been advised of the same by your doctor.
After the two miscarriages were reported, top Hong Kong officials and experts recommend that pregnant women should seek the advice of their doctor before getting a BioNTech jab and not use the Sinovac vaccine at all.
Sinovac, the mainland Chinese manufacturer of the other vaccine in Hong Kong said the doses should not be given to pregnant women.
But this disclaimer is not limited to Asia.
In another case, six women developed a rare blood clotting disorder after receiving Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine in the USA. Post which, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated, "For the time being, pregnant and postpartum women who want to be vaccinated should be encouraged to get either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna shots, not the Johnson & Johnson vaccination."
This again brings us back to the main question: does COVID vaccine affect pregnancy?
Getting vaccinated is no longer a personal choice. Any of the currently authorised COVID-19 vaccines can be offered to people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, only after prescription.
So Should Pregnant Mums Get Vaccinated?
If you are pregnant, should you for the COVID-19 vaccine? (Photo courtesy: Pixabay)
CDC recommends that if you are pregnant, you may choose to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If you are in doubt, it is best to have a conversation with your healthcare provider and only then proceed.
However, there are chances of side effects like body ache and fever. There is nothing to worry about because pregnant women have not reported different side effects from non-pregnant women after vaccination with mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines).
Dr Sigal Klipstein shared some advice with pregnant mums after vaccination. She said:
- Do not to take any painkillers ahead of time in anticipation of vaccine-related symptoms. It can dampen your body's immune response.
- Women who are pregnant or potentially pregnant should avoid anti-inflammatory drugs.
- If you experience fever following vaccination you should take acetaminophen. It is a safe medicine.
So does covid vaccine affect pregnancy? Yes and no. If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, speak to your doctor about getting a jab. And if you are pregnant, you may be advised to get it in sever cases. But remember that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems.
News Source: South China Morning Post, New York Times
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