Covid-19 Vaccines – Is It Safe for Pregnant & Breastfeeding Women?
Dr. Mangla Dogra, MBBS, MD(Obstetrics & Gynecologist), with an experience of 34 years, is Director & Senior Consultant – Obstetrics & Gynecologist at Dogra Nursing Home, Chandigarh. On receiving various questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccination, Dr. Mangla Dogra stated the following:
During this testing time of covid-19 Pandemic, we are getting many queries about Corona vaccination during pregnancy, during breastfeeding, and or in patients who are planning pregnancy and are getting infertility treatment. About two-thirds of the women who test positive for covid-19 during pregnancy are asymptomatic. However, some pregnant women can get life-threatening diseases because of covid-19, particularly if they have underlying health issues. In the later stages of pregnancy, women are at an increased risk of becoming seriously ill with a covid-19 infection, especially in the third trimester. Three times the rate, they will have a rate of premature birth in these babies. So having said that, ideally, you should have your vaccination before you plan a pregnancy that means you will have to get one vaccination. After 6 to 8 weeks, you get your second vaccination, and after the second vaccination for another two months, one should wait, and then one should plan a pregnancy. If you are vaccinated and if you have followed these norms, this would be an ideal situation. If you have received the first dose and then you suddenly realize that you become pregnant in a bad situation, do not panic; this vaccination that you are receiving is a dead virus vaccine just like the vaccination of influenza, which will give you a pregnancy, and this has no all to word effect on your growing pregnancy and the fetus. So thirdly, if you have received the first dose and realize that you are pregnant, do not go in for the second dose in pregnancy because we do not have enough evidence, enough literature available to us as of now about the effect of covid vaccination. And when Dr. Mangla Dogra talks of this, she talks of Covishield and Covaxin, which is available in India, and their effect on pregnancy and its outcome on pregnancy. For women who are planning a pregnancy that we are taking treatment for infertility, the ideal situation would again be to get the vaccination and the get the second vaccination after 6 weeks and then wait for another eight to ten weeks before the start treatment for infertility. That way, with the whole vaccination scenario, they will have to wait for words for 25 months before they start taking treatment for infertility. There is limited information about the effect of covid-19 vaccination and its outcome, so even if you do get vaccinated, if you do get another scenario and then plan a pregnancy and have a baby. during pregnancy you still need to follow the norms of covid-19 distancing, wearing a mask all the time, washing your hands carefully and frequently vaccination for a covid vaccine for covid-19 for pregnant women have been allowed in countries like UK and USA, and that also there only recommended Pfizer, but this also is to be given in high-risk women, women who can wear comorbidities or work in scenarios in a hospital set up and they are more likely to get a covid-19 infection.
Having said that there is no evidence for pregnant women with Covishield and Covaxin in India, so pregnant women and lactating women should not receive covid-19 vaccination at this time because none of the trials have been done on pregnant women. So as of now, the Ministry of family welfare and health guidelines are that pregnant ladies and lactating women have not to receive covid vaccination. Yes, of course, as time passes, we will have more and more evidence and literature available, and the time and the guidelines will keep changing. We from Dogra Nursing Home Sector 19 will update you about whatever the new guidelines keep coming up about covid vaccination and pregnancy and lactation.