The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has released a leaflet for COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy with the information for women trying for pregnancy, pregnant and lactating women. The patient information guide has been prepared by Dr. Salwa AbouYakoub, Chair of Obstetrics, Dr. Mariam Al Beloushi, Dr. Gamal Ahmed – Senior Consultants in Obstetrics and Gynecology; Women’s Wellness and Research Center, Hamad Medical Corporation and Dr. Soha Al Bayat, Head of Vaccination, Ministry of Public Health, Qatar. Find out all the details here.
A: The vaccines that are currently available in Qatar, are the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines which are given as an injection in your arm, in 2 doses, 21 and 28 days apart, respectively. Both are non-live vaccines.
A: Yes, for some vaccines. Giving women vaccines during pregnancy is not new. We have been giving non-live vaccines as the Influenza vaccine and whooping cough vaccine to hundreds of thousands of pregnant women for many years without evidence of harm to mothers and their babies.
A: The two COVID-19 vaccines available in Qatar (Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines) do not seem to contain ingredients that are known to be harmful to pregnant women or to a developing baby.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI, UK), Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency – (MHRA, UK), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA, USA) has stated that there are no emerging concerns regarding the safety of Covid-19 vaccination in
pregnancy. This is all reassuring and studies are currently underway to confirm this.
JCVI (UK)'s current advice is that vaccination in pregnancy should be considered where the risk of exposure to Covid-19 infection is high or cannot be avoided and should be considered where the woman has an underlying condition that puts her at very high risk of serious complications of COVID-19. Similar advice was issued for breastfeeding women.
A: This guide is intended to help you make an informed choice regards whether or not you should take the Covid-19 vaccine while trying to get pregnant, in pregnancy and during breastfeeding. After consulting your doctor and reading this leaflet, you have 2 options:
A: No. Covid-19 vaccines do not contain live coronavirus and cannot give you or the unborn baby the disease.
This means that if you are pregnant and is exposed to the virus more than others (for example you work in a health care facility) you should consider taking the vaccine - after consulting your doctor- rather than getting an infection.
It also means if you have certain medical conditions that lower your immunity (listed below) and after consulting your doctor, you should also consider taking the vaccine rather than contracting the disease and having a higher risk of acquiring a severe illness. Severe illness includes illness that results in intensive care admission, mechanical ventilation, or death.
It is important to understand that severe Covid-19 disease can also occur in pregnant women without the conditions below. Here are some of the conditions that can lower your immunity, make you more vulnerable for a severe disease and we would suggest you consider vaccination in pregnancy after consulting your doctor;
A: Experts believe these vaccines are unlikely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant. Small side effects can occur. It is important that you weigh these relatively small, transient risks against the benefits of taking the vaccine. These side effects include a sore arm at the site of injection, tiredness and fatigue, headache and fever.
A: You can take the vaccine anytime in pregnancy. After discussion with your doctor, you may want to take the two doses of the vaccine any time before the third trimester (before 28 weeks). But you can also take the vaccine after that.
A: There is currently no evidence or medical reason why it should affect fertility for men or women.
A: No. There is no reason to postpone having your Covid-19 vaccine as it will not affect your risk of having a miscarriage.
A: Yes, current advice by JCVI, CDC and MHRA is that you take the vaccine and not delay it because you are trying to get pregnant.
A: Yes. You can take the 2nd dose of the vaccine at the scheduled time after consulting your doctor.
A: The WHO (World Health Organization), US-based CDC and MHRA, JCVI (UK) current recommendations suggest that the vaccine can be taken during breastfeeding as it not thought to pose a risk to the breastfeeding infant.
Finally, MOPH also said that the guide has the information we know so far. Understandably as we know more about Covid-19 vaccination and pregnancy, some of the information will be updated accordingly.
Source: MOPH (Twitter)
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