Lately, there had been too much scepticism around pregnancy and COVID vaccination in India and within Asia. The general public is highly suspicious about whether to get pregnant women vaccinated for COVID or not. The fear is legit as the government itself is not sure. Government has cited non-availability of enough clinical trial data for the prevailing uncertainty on the subject.
WHO’s Covid and Pregnancy Guidelines
As per WHO guidelines on pregnancy and covid 19, women, who are in high probability of exposure to the virus, should take the vaccine. This specific issuance by WHO has given confidence to Indian government to extend its immunization drive to pregnant women.
What’s Going On in Other Countries?
Australian and New Zealand governments have officially announced the Pfizer COVID vaccine safe for pregnant women during the entire pregnancy period. Further, the data collected worldwide against pregnant women who have taken COVID vaccine shows no signs of worry.
On the contrary, when it comes to pregnancy and covid vaccination, some studies say otherwise. They say vaccination in pregnant women may help protect their baby from catching a similar virus. Research indicates that vaccinated pregnant women transfer antibodies into the baby via breast milk and cord blood. It eventually leads to building passive immunity in the babies.
The US, at present, is actively running clinical trials of COVID vaccine on pregnant women. We can expect the final stats to come out by the end of 2021.
Should Pregnant Women take the Vaccine?
The Ministry of Health doesn’t recommend pregnant women to get vaccinated, but then, it also doesn’t speak against it. However, most associations of gynaecologists across the world, including India’s FOGSI (Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India), have got an opposite viewpoint than India’s Ministry of Health. They have spoken in favour of vaccination for women in pregnancy. However, we would suggest taking the advice of your gynaecologist, in case you, as a reader, happen to be a pregnant woman living in India.
Is it Safe for Breastfeeding Women to get Vaccinated?
Yes, it’s entirely safe for breastfeeding women to take shots of COVID vaccination. This is what gynaecological societies from across the world have to say on the subject. In fact, when we talk of pregnancy and covid 19, experts have seen many positive effects. Firstly, the babies who drink the breastmilk of the vaccinated woman also develop protective antibodies. Secondly, such infants may also develop immunity against similar viruses. Therefore, women hoping to get pregnant must not delay their vaccination. And those avoiding pregnancy post-vaccination must also relax a bit!
What About Vaccination during Periods?
It’s completely safe to take vaccination irrespective of the day of the period you’re into. However, some rumours say that women should not take the vaccine five days before or after the menstrual cycle, which is absolutely rubbish.
Will the Vaccine Affect your Periods Adversely?
No, but you can experience slightly increased stress and anxiety levels. Your periods may go irregular for some time. Hence, the final advice – take the vaccine at the earliest!
Vaccine’s Potential Impact on Women’s Fertility
At present, we don’t have any concrete evidence in the context of the potential effects of vaccination on women or men’s fertility. But, talking scientifically, it should not have any ill impact.
While the government has not got a firm say on the subject, we would suggest for pregnant women to simply go for it after consulting with their gynaecologist. Further, there has not been found severe complications in pregnant women who have had taken vaccination till this very date. Now, even WHO has approved of the vaccination for women under pregnancy, provided that there exists no comorbidity. Eventually, it’s the right of the pregnant woman to decide on whether she feels like taking the vaccination or can do without it. They need to weigh in the risks & benefits by themselves.