Covid-19: Why expectant, new mums plan to take Pfizer jab at earliest
Doctors say protection that passes to children through breast milk can provide passive immunity.
Expectant and new mothers, as well as ex-Covid patients say they plan to get vaccinated at the earliest after DHA amended the eligibility for the Pfizer vaccine
On Saturday, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) had announced that these groups can now safely take the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine, in line with international guidelines.
“I was keen to get vaccinated early on but couldn’t get it done because of Covid-19 infection in late February. Even though some people suggested I could have already developed immunity, I think I will feel safe only after getting vaccinated. I am glad Pfizer is available in Dubai and plan to get the jab shortly,” says Kanika Uppal, a long-time resident of Dubai.
Sujata D., a senior executive in Dubai, too is elated with the news. “We have been in a dilemma all this while. I am nearing 40 and want another child, so I delayed the decision of getting vaccinated after I was told that women who are planning pregnancy should avoid it. But now with this news, I will surely take an appointment for Pfizer and get it soon.”
Radhika Lobo, a homemaker, who had mild Covid-19 infection early on in March, too, is planning to get the jab. “I am fine now, but I would like to get vaccinated at the earliest,” she said.
The latest announcement by the DHA allays much of the confusion around the issue of inoculation of women planning to concieve and breast-feeding mothers as well as recovered patients. “For now, it is only Pfizer vaccine that can be given to mothers who are breastfeeding their children, recently recovered Covid-19 patients, and women who are planning a family. This is because the mechanism of producing anti-bodies is entirely different in Pfizer, which uses a messenger RNA technique. In case of lactating mothers, Pfizer vaccine will not affect the growth and development of the babies. The vaccine will also not affect the constituents or quality of breast milk,” said Dr Keya Rahul Shivadey, Specialist – Gynecologist & Obstetrician, Aster Clinic.
In the absence of paediatric vaccines, any protection that passes to children through breast milk can provide passive immunity to them. This way, pandemic babies born or conceived amid the crisis could get some protection and not navigate their earliest days unguarded.
“There is massive increase in enquirers after the advisory, especially from pregnant patients and breastfeeding women,” said Dr Pragati Grover, Specialist Obstetrics and Gynaecologist, Prime Medical Center. “It is now established that pregnant women are at increased risk of severe Covid-19-associated illness compared with non-pregnant women. Thus, preventing critical Covid-19 infection is of paramount importance for both the mother and her fetus,” added Dr Grover.
The Sars-Cov-2 virus could remain with us longer than expected and the only way to develop herd immunity and protect oneself is by getting vaccinated. “If women who are planning to get pregnant or those who are breastfeeding are left out, we could be leaving behind three to four per cent of the population, which is not insignificant.
“To develop herd immunity faster, we need to ensure more and more people are vaccinated,” added Shivadey.
How to book Covid-19 vaccine appointment
>> Appointment for vaccination can be made through DHA app
>> You need a Medical Record Number (MRN), and a valid Emirates ID to make a booking
>> Covid-19 vaccinations are available only for UAE residents at the moment
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