Medical doctor and former Deputy Premier in the Virgin Islands, Dr Kedrick D. Pickering said for pregnant women who share the concern, it might be better to take the vaccine after all since it provides measurable benefits.
Dr Pickering at the time appeared in a panel discussion and live webcast entitled ‘Let's Talk COVID-19 Vaccination Live Forum’ hosted by Karia J. Christopher.
“In fact, what is recommended is that it is probably better to take the vaccine than not to take it because if you become sick with COVID there is a higher risk of pregnant women developing complications especially later in the pregnancy,” he said during a webcast.
He said for pregnant women, however, two issues arise, beginning with research data not available on the long term effects of the vaccine on the fetus.
“There's no evidence to date to suggest that vaccination in pregnancy causes any problems to the fetus, this is still evolving but there is no evidence to say that it causes any problems.”
He said when the benefits are weighed against the risks, it then becomes much better to get the protective benefits of the vaccine, than to becomes sick with COVID especially in the latter stages of pregnancy.
For lactating women, he indicated that the benefits are clear since antibodies produced can help the baby.
“Certainly, for lactating mothers, it is helpful if that person is vaccinated or that person takes a vaccine because the antibodies that are produced in the mum does have a protective effect on the baby.”
“So it's encouraged, it's not a problem,” Dr Pickering further said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant and recently pregnant people are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared to non-pregnant people.
The CDC also indicates that women who are pregnant or were recently pregnant can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.