Ground Report | New Delhi: Is It Safe For Lactating Mothers To Take Covid Vaccine; It is important to understand that a majority of the patients in this pandemic need reassurance, calming advice – more so in the mental health aspect. Isolation, infodemic, and disinformation all have contributed to anxiety and also mental health problems. In my view, vaccines are safe and everyone should be encouraged to take them.
Is It Safe For Lactating Mothers Few Facts
- Pregnant women are at increased risk of severe COVID-19-associated illness compared with non-pregnant women because of the altered immunity. The first 12 weeks of pregnancy are most important for the baby’s development, so some women may choose to wait until after this to have their vaccination.
- If you are a lactating mother, you are discouraged to take any medicines unless you are symptomatic. If you are symptomatic, under the consultation of your physician, standard blood tests like complete blood count (CBC), c-reactive protein (CRP), random blood sugar and D-dimer, and interleukin 6 (IL-6) levels. These tests will help understand if there are any inflammatory reactions in your body. Recovery rate for expecting mothers is 99% and only 1% need hospital care.
- There is no data that the vaccine will have an impact on breastfeeding, which has multifold benefits for both the mother and child.
- No preparation needed as such for vaccination apart from the social distancing norms and avoiding going to crowded places. It is advisable that no other vaccine was taken within 14 days.
- Breastfeeding mothers must get vaccinated as there are no risks for vaccinating breastfeeding mothers. The antibodies could pass to the babies as well and it may offer immunity to the baby also like other vaccines given in pregnancy.
Always remember you can still get mild disease after the vaccination. The vaccine only protects you from hospitalisation, death and serious disease. You can still be an asymptomatic carrier and it is important that you continue to wear your masks, follow social distancing and carry frequent hand hygiene. Vaccination is the key to come out of this COVID-19 pandemic and with the current situation and daily surge one must not skip the vaccination drive and register themselves for the same.
Getting Vaccinated is a Personal Choice
If you are pregnant, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. You may want to have a conversation with your healthcare provider to help you decide whether to receive a vaccine that has been authorized for use under Emergency Use Authorization. While a conversation with your healthcare provider may be helpful, it is not required prior to vaccination.
- How vaccination might pass antibodies to the fetus. Recent reports have shown that people who have received COVID-19 mRNA vaccines during pregnancy (mostly during their third trimester) have passed antibodies to their fetuses, which could help protect them after birth.
Bejon Misra, Founder, Patient Safety and Access, argued that a pre-vaccination screening of the vulnerable groups should be the primary step at the vaccination centres to understand their medical history and take preventive measures to avoid any side effects. (Is It Safe For Lactating Mothers)
“Pre-vaccination screening at vaccination centres is must for people who are vulnerable – pregnant women, lactating mothers and those suffering from chronic diseases. Since the concept of public health care is missing in our system, there is a large population unaware of the fact that it might be risky to take a vaccine if they are already on medication for a disease. Therefore, it is essential to see their past medical history and understand if there could be any possible side effects post-vaccination,” he emphasised.
Dr Kang also mentioned, “Vaccinating lactating mothers may protect the baby because the mother will make antibodies against the virus.”
Highlighting that none of the two vaccines have undergone a clinical trial, Dr Kang said, “The vaccines specifically made in India have not undergone any clinical trial on lactating women. Our system wants companies to develop vaccines, but if something goes wrong, where both the mother and the baby are affected, there are liability, insurance and compensation issues. So, it wants the treatment but doesn’t want the risk. Hence, when companies enroll for clinical trials, they rule out pregnant women. Now by doing this, we are doing the right thing in protecting women during the trial, but we are doing the wrong thing by not testing a product that is likely to help them.”
Further, according to Davis too, there are no specific clinical trials conducted in this group of population and it is not usual to do specific studies only in lactating women in vaccine development.