SINGAPORE – Pregnant and breastfeeding women should get vaccinated to protect themselves and their babies from Covid-19, as real world data has shown that it is not only safe but also beneficial for mother and child, said specialists here.
With the emergence of new variants of Covid-19 and a resurgence of community-transmitted cases, pregnant women, who are at greater risk of developing complications from Covid-19 than non-pregnant women, should be vaccinated.
The vaccination also protects the baby, the College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Singapore (COGS) and the Obstetric and Gynecological Society of Singapore (OGSS) said on Thursday (June 3).
Studies in other countries have shown that pregnant women who contract Covid-19 are more likely to require intensive care or invasive ventilation, said Dr Lim Min Yu, president of OGSS.
This puts the baby at a higher risk of premature birth and stillbirth, and he may also need intensive care.
“It is for these reasons that we believe it is imperative to encourage our pregnant women to get vaccinated,” he said.
In addition, the antibodies that women produce after vaccination are transferred to babies before birth, as well as to breast milk. This provides protection for babies, although the extent and duration of this protection is unclear at this point, he said.
COGS and OGSS said the vaccines are safe for nursing mothers, with none of the vaccine components passing into breast milk.
They added that the vaccines are also safe for women who are planning to conceive.
COGS and OGSS released a joint notice and guidance on Thursday, two days after authorities said it was safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women to be vaccinated.
Pregnant women who are older, overweight or obese, or who suffer from conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, are at increased risk of developing serious complications, according to the advisory.
Pregnant women will be able to register and make a vaccination appointment from June 4 if they are part of the population eligible for vaccination.
Adults aged 40 to 44 can now sign up for their Covid-19 jabs. People aged 45 and over were included in previous phases of the national immunization campaign.
Pregnant women were among those previously advised not to receive the injections, as large-scale clinical trials of Covid-19 mRNA vaccines have not involved such volunteers.
COGS and OGSS said a recent study involving approximately 4,000 women in the United States “demonstrated the safety of Covid-19 mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), without increased risk of adverse outcomes of pregnancy or obvious adverse events ”.
Dr Lim said that at present, the main published data available on Covid-19 vaccines and pregnancy relates to the two mRNA vaccines that are currently in use here, and that there is not yet a safety data for the use of Sinovac inactivated vaccine on pregnant women. women.
It is not known why pregnant women are more likely to become seriously ill with Covid-19.
Dr Lim said it could be due to changes women go through during pregnancy, such as increased heart rate and increased oxygen uptake.
For example, their lung capacity is affected by a growing uterus, their immune system also changes, and there is an increased risk of developing blood clots.
He said pregnant women can discuss the vaccination with their doctor.
“This is mainly to make sure they don’t have any of the risk factors that would prevent them from getting the vaccine, but those risk factors are actually the same as for the general population.”