New Covid-19 vaccine advice for pregnant women published

ireland
New Covid-19 Vaccine Advice For Pregnant Women Published
Pregnant women are 'not excluded' from getting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to protect against Covid-19.
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By Digital Desk Staff

Pregnant women are “not excluded” from getting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to protect against Covid-19, Irish medical experts have said.

The Irish Times reports it has been advised that those who are receiving the vaccine should be given it between the 14th and 33rd weeks of their pregnancy.

If the second dose is not given by “33 completed weeks,” it should be delayed until after delivery, according to information from the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the National Immunisation Advisory Committee.

This is to avoid confusion if a fever — a common side effect of the vaccine's second dose — develops, the advice said.

Women should seek trusted information about the vaccines and assess their risks with regards to Covid-19 and the vaccine with their healthcare providers, chair of the institute Dr Cliona Murphy said.

Risks

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According to both groups issuing the advice, pregnant women are at a similar risk of contracting Covid-19 as the rest of the female population.

The majority who become infected will experience mild to moderate symptoms, and the risk of passing the virus on to the baby is low.

However, pregnant women showing symptoms may be more likely to be hospitalised, to require care in intensive care, and to die when compared with other women.

There may also be an increased rate of preterm birth and stillbirth among pregnant patients.

“We have seen a higher rate of hospitalisation and high dependency care in Ireland but thankfully no maternal death from Covid in 2020,” the information said.

They can consider getting the vaccine balancing the small unknown risks related to the vaccine against the serious risks associated with Covid-19

The advice recommends that pregnant women who are at high risk of severe Covid-19, along with pregnant healthcare workers, should talk to their obstetrics care provider about having the vaccine.

“They should discuss their risk of getting Covid-19 in light of their particular circumstances. Based on this they can consider getting the vaccine balancing the small unknown risks related to the vaccine against the serious risks associated with Covid-19,” it said.

Vaccines will reduce the chance of pregnant women becoming severely unwell and may also reduce the chance of complications, such as preterm birth, which are associated with severe Covid-19 illness.

Doses

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A three-week interval is recommended between the two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The information said pregnant women should get the first dose at or after 14 weeks, and the second by 33 weeks.

With common side effects after the second dose including fever, pregnant woman are advised not to take ibuprofen and to seek medical advice if feeling unwell after receiving a vaccine to rule out other reasons.

Breastfeeding is advised for mothers who got the vaccine while pregnant and may offer some protection to the baby. Mothers who are currently breastfeeding can also get the vaccine.

The new advice refers specifically to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, but further information will become available as more vaccines are distributed in Ireland.

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