The COVID-19 vaccine has been a major breakthrough in the fight against the pandemic. Vaccination generates immunity against the disease, greatly reducing the likelihood of infection, persistent symptoms, hospitalisation or ICU admission. At the same time, by getting vaccinated we also protect those around us because it makes the transmission of the disease more difficult and we collaborate in achieving the group immunity that is essential to be able to normalise our lives.
At the same time, the appearance of vaccines has raised a lot of questions about how they work, their safety and efficacy and their use, of particular interest in certain groups such as women of reproductive age because of the implications that vaccination can have on a third person, the foetus or baby.
Reviewing the latest recommendations of FACME (Federation of Spanish Scientific Medical Associations), WHO (World Health Organization), SCOG (Catalan Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology) and the technical data sheets of the vaccines, we have prepared this post to help you resolve doubts about vaccination in different situations.
With the data currently available:
– According to the data sheet of the available vaccines, animal studies have shown no harmful effects in terms of reproductive toxicity.
– If you are planning a pregnancy, it is not necessary to have a pregnancy pot before the administration of the vaccine.
– Once the vaccination regimen has been completed, there is no need to wait for any interval of time before seeking pregnancy.
– If pregnancy occurs once the vaccination schedule has been started, the information available at that time should be assessed to decide whether to continue the vaccination schedule, postpone it until later in the pregnancy or postpone it until later in the pregnancy.
– Inadvertent vaccination of a pregnant woman does not justify recommending termination of pregnancy as the available data do not demonstrate any harmful effects on the foetus.
Pregnant women are a group that requires special attention, and in order to protect the foetus, the principle of prudence should always be applied.
Pregnant women are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 than the general population although the absolute risk is low. COVID-19 during pregnancy could also increase the risk of premature birth and risks for the baby.
According to the data sheet of the available vaccines, pregnancy is not a contraindication for vaccination.
The information available on vaccination and pregnancy is insufficient because there are limited data on vaccination in pregnant women, but those that have been published, with mRNA vaccines and vaccination mostly in the third trimester, show a similar adverse reaction profile in the general population. At the same time, obstetric and perinatal outcomes of vaccinated women are not different from unvaccinated women.
Pending the completion of existing studies and with the aim of reducing transmission of the virus and protecting pregnant women, according to FACME “vaccination should be offered to pregnant women when comorbidities, age or risk of exposure make it appropriate”.
– Which vaccine to use? mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) because we have more experience.
– When to vaccinate? From 20 weeks of pregnancy.
It is recommended to respect a minimum interval of 7 days with the administration of other vaccines recommended in pregnancy such as pertussis.
According to WHO “COVID-19 vaccine can be offered to a breastfeeding woman who is part of a population group with a vaccination recommendation”.
According to vaccine datasheet there is no contraindication for administration to breastfeeding women.
Available scientific evidence:
– Existing vaccines do NOT contain live attenuated virus, therefore they can NOT cause COVID-19 in the vaccinated person.
– It is highly unlikely that the vaccine components would pass into breast milk, and if they did, they would be digested by the infant’s gut.
– Antibodies generated by the vaccine are found in the milk of vaccinated mothers, which may protect the infant from COVID-19.
– Breastfeeding does not have to be interrupted or stopped after vaccination.
– COVID-19 vaccine risk category for breastfeeding: Very low risk. Compatible.
It should be noted that after vaccination axillary lymph nodes on the same side of the injection arm may be palpable. This is a transient side effect that does not necessarily compromise lactation and requires only clinical follow-up.
This information may change in the future as new data are published.
Always consult your health care professional to help you make decisions.