Should pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine? Here’s what a doctor says

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Ever since the pandemic started, there have been many questions about the vaccine — its availability, efficacy, etc. Now that it is here, people are curious to know how it works once inside the body, and if there are any risks associated with it. For pregnant women, especially, the last year has been trying, with questions around the safety and security of their baby, and whether they are more vulnerable to the virus in their immuno-compromised state.

Right now, pregnant women are wondering if they should get vaccinated. While the vaccine works to inoculate the system, there are a few unanswered questions.

Express Parenting reached out to Dr Anjali Kumar, obstetrician and gynaecologist, CK Birla Hospital, to find out if the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for expectant mothers, and here is what she said: “At present, Government of India and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) advise against getting the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy and breastfeeding as well. These guidelines may change if we get conclusive evidence that there is no risk to mother or child with the vaccine.”

Can the foetus be harmed in any way because of the vaccine?

Dr Kumar says that technically, the vaccine cannot harm the foetus. “In fact, data regarding the COVID-19 infection also does not indicate any detrimental impact of the virus on the foetus. As there is insufficient data regarding the effect of the vaccine on the baby, we do not recommend the vaccine for pregnant women currently.”

Is there any truth to the belief that pregnant or breastfeeding women are at a higher risk of contracting coronavirus infection?

“The risk of contracting the coronavirus infection for pregnant or breastfeeding women is the same as that for women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women, however, are an immuno-compromised subset of the population. Subsequently, the infection can have a more severe manifestation,” explains the doctor, adding that in case someone is planning to become pregnant, it is “recommended that they discuss COVID-19 vaccination with their obstetrician, since the vaccination involves two doses and is not recommended during pregnancy at present”.



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