Interim MOH says vaccines shown to protect pregnant women and babies

A recent study has found that there is no correlation between risk of miscarriages for pregnant women in the first trimester and receiving any of the available COVID-19 vaccines.

Speaking on AM800’s Morning Driver, interim Medical Officer of Health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai says it’s completely understandable that pregnant women would be concerned about their own health and the health of their baby.

However, Dr. Nesathurai says the data has shown that getting vaccinated is the best way to be protected.

“At the end of the day the evidence suggests that getting a COVID infection is adverse to the mother. There’s a greater chance of high blood pressure, greater chance of cesarean birth. And there’s risks of COVID infection to the newborn child, including still-birth, premature birth, low birth weight and admission of the baby to the neonatal intensive care unit. The vaccine is a safe and effective strategy to improve the health of the mother and the newborn baby.”

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that a full vaccine course be offered to pregnant individuals.

Dr. Nesathurai says only 60 per cent of pregnant women in Ontario are currently vaccinated. 

“And that’s lower than we would want,” he continued. “My hope is by having this messaging it will increase the number of women who are getting vaccinated which I think is an important goal.”

Dr. Nesathurai says vaccines have been shown to be beneficial to women who are currently breastfeeding, and that if a pregnant women gets vaccinated there may also be some transmission of the antibodies to the newborn

He says given all of that it’s important to encourage the vaccination of pregnant women.

“Everything in medicine is about balancing the risks versus the benefits. And in this particular case the benefits so outweigh the risks that I would encourage every woman who’s pregnant, planning to be pregnant or currently breastfeeding to get vaccinated,” he said.

A study published earlier this month also indicated that those who were pregnant and contracted the virus were more likely to need emergency deliveries if they were symptomatic.

 

– with files from AM800’s Morning Drive

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