Medical Experts: Covid Vaccine Safe for lactating mother, pregnant woman
Many women in 18-44 age groups, who could be pregnant, are eager to know whether they should go for vaccination or not.
Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Societies in India (FOGSI) has recommended the Covid-19 vaccine as safe and effective for all pregnant women & lactating mothers but it is still not officially permitted for pregnant women in India. From May 1st, India is stating its ‘Phase 3’ strategy of COVID-19 vaccination, in which the 18+ population can get vaccinated. So, many women in the 18-44 age groups, who could be pregnant, are eager to know whether they should go for vaccination or not.
“International professional bodies have taken a uniformly positive stand on the Covid vaccine in pregnancy and lactation. In fact, there are many benefits. But, in India, our government is yet to allow pregnant women to take the vaccines,” said veteran gynecologist Dr. Laxmi Shrikhande, who had been senior vice president of FOGSI and is now vice-chairperson, Indian College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (ICOG).
The government of India has said pregnant women are excluded from taking the vaccine as Indian vaccine trials had no involvement of pregnant women. As a result, at present, there is no data on immunization of pregnant and lactating women with Covishield or Covaxin. But, worldwide, pregnant women were included in the trials and the outcomes were very positive and fine. A study in the USA showed that Covid vaccination generates a robust immune response in pregnant and lactating women, which is equivalent to that in the general population.
“It may happen that a woman gets the first dose of vaccine and later comes to know about her pregnancy. In such case, we don’t suggest termination of pregnancy at all,” added Dr. Laxmi Shrikhande.
Dr. Alka Mukherjee, president of Nagpur Obstetrics and Gynecologists Society (NOGS) told that lactating women should also be considered as Covid vaccine candidates as there are no known adverse effects on breastfeeding newborn.
“In fact, there is the passage of protective antibodies to the child, which may be a beneficial effect,” she said. “Women are eager to get vaccinated as it provides protection from the virus. They should be counseled to make their own decision to accept or refuse the vaccine,” she added.
In its position statement released on the issue, FOGSI has recommended that obstetricians and gynecologists, and women’s health care providers should be allowed to administer the Covid vaccines to pregnant and breastfeeding women with preparations to manage adverse events. The federation has also suggested that there will be no serious side-effects of vaccines on pregnant and lactating women.