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Last updated on Jun 21st, 2021 at 12:21 pm

A recent Covid-19 vaccine study indicates that vaccinations on pregnant and breastfeeding women show a healthy immune response. 

A study titled “COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy and lactation” is the light that mothers and health professionals have been waiting for. Until now, it was unknown what the effects of vaccinations are on pregnant and breastfeeding moms.

The study was accepted by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology on 22 March and published on 25 March. 

When Covid-19 vaccines were being developed and testes, pregnant and breastfeeding women were excluded from the studies. These women and children form a part of the exclusion criteria for vaccine trials. 

What does the study show? 

The study has found that Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective in creating antibodies against the virus. These antibodies are equally beneficial for newborns and children in utero. The antibodies travel to a child through the placenta and breastfeeding as well. 

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The study had 131 women in the below categories:

  • 84 pregnant 
  • 31 breastfeeding 
  • 16 non-pregnant

Which vaccines are found to be safe? 

The study was looking at the messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “an mRNA vaccine works by encoding a portion of the spike protein found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are both mRNA vaccines. 

On 9 March 20201, Business Insider reported that “Covid-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech appear significantly less effective against the coronavirus variant first found in South Africa.”

SA has been using the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and recently secured 30 million doses of the vaccine. The J&J vaccine does not use a live virus which is considered safe for pregnant women. This is not based on concrete evidence, and more studies need to be conducted.

Vaccinating is a personal choice, for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, the choice is bigger than themselves. 

It is unclear if SA will ever get the mRNA vaccines that need to be stored in below-freezing temperatures. SA might not have the capacity to store these vaccines on a large scale.

 

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