Actress Dia Mirza took to Instagram a couple of days ago and warned pregnant and lactating women against getting the COVID-19 vaccine. “This is really important. Must read and also note that none of the vaccinations currently being used in India have been tested on pregnant and lactating mothers. My doctor says we cannot take these vaccines until required clinical trials have been done,” she wrote on social media. Her post restarted a lot of rumours against the COVID-19 vaccines and their impact on women’s fertility, lactation and foetus health.
Now, as we have reiterated time and again that it is the COVID-19 vaccines that stand as our first line of defence against the coronavirus. So it's important to put an end to the myths and misinformation. We reached out to Dr. Swati Gaikwad, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Pune to help us with the facts. Here is a lowdown for you all:
In the past month, we have heard about so many pregnant women who contracted the coronavirus during or after their pregnancy and succumbed to the infection. Now, while pregnant women need to be protected from getting the infection, can they be given the vaccine? “Pregnant women and children are not listed to get vaccinated,” says Dr. Gaikwad. Thus, they’d have to wait until the vaccine manufacturers conduct adequate tests to see if their vaccines are safe for pregnant women and children. Also, in case someone takes the vaccine without knowing that they were pregnant, they should consult the doctor and monitor the side effects.
Now, if the COVID-19 vaccine is not safe for a pregnant woman, how safe can it be for someone who is lactating. Well, as it turns out, it is absolutely fine for lactating women to get the vaccine. “There is no known risk in having the COVID-19 vaccines if you are a breastfeeding or lactating mother. In fact, you will be shocked to know that a nursing mother who receives COVID-19 vaccine can pass protective antibodies to the baby via breast milk for at least 80 days after inoculation," shares Dr. Gaikwad.
The vaccine won’t impact milk production in lactating women. “There is no claim to validate the impact on vaccination when it comes to milk production,” the doctor adds.
We have already learned that the newborn baby can also benefit from a vaccinated mom. According to Dr. Gaikwad, “You should get vaccinated immediately after you deliver the baby.”
While India might have started its vaccination drive, it isn’t going at the desired rate currently. Of course, the lack of doses has to be blamed for the current crisis. However, it also has to do with people’s reluctance to go for the vaccine owing to a number of misconceptions and myths. One of these myths is that the vaccine might impact women’s fertility and thus those who plan to get pregnant sometime in the future should avoid the jab.
However, Dr. Gaikwad explains, "There is no study to validate the impact of vaccines on one’s fertility. There are no guidelines regarding the adverse effects of vaccines on fertility. There are many forwards on social media about vaccines reducing one’s fertility. Of course, it is not true at all.” She further adds, “COVID-19 has caused stress, anxiety, and paranoia in people which can actually lead to infertility. So, get rid of the COVID-19 anxiety by getting vaccinated ASAP. Do not skip it at all.”
Another common rumour around COVID-19 vaccines suggests that women should not get the vaccine when they are menstruating. “This is a rumor and should not be believed, the covid-19 vaccine is safe even during periods. Do not believe in any post forwarded on social media and stop yourself from taking the jab," says Dr. Gaikwad.
It is important that we stay away from fake news and don't add on to the existing chaos.
Psst....expecting soon? Here are some picks that might come in handy:
Featured Image: Instagram