Covid vaccine for lactating mothers

Is there a Covid Vaccine for kids? Is it safe for pregnant women and lactating women to take the vaccine?

We are writing this article in collaboration with Dr. Swetha Vinjamuri, an experienced Obstetrician-Gynecologist from the Ovum Gynecology department. If you have additional questions you can chat with her or with Ovum Pediatrics.

Covid vaccine for kids

In some countries, like the US or Germany, certain brands of the Covid vaccine (e.g., the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine) have been approved for children 12 years and older. US government health organizations like the CDC (Center for Disease Control) are actively advocating Covid vaccination among children 12 years and older. Trials are on in several countries to test the safety and efficacy of administering the Covid vaccine to children.

Children’s immune system is different than adults’. While teenagers 15 years and older might produce an immune reaction similar to adults to the Covid vaccine, younger children may produce a different immune reaction. One size fits all is not a good approach when it comes to vaccine trials among children.

In India vaccines haven’t been tested on children yet, and are not available for administering to children. However the Central Government has announced that trials among children will start soon in India.

Will kids who have gotten and recovered from Covid have immunity similar to getting vaccinated?

Any person who has recovered from Covid will have antibodies, including children. However there isn’t enough data yet to prove that the antibodies generated in children are sufficient to keep them safe from getting infected again. Nor is data available yet to conclusively decide whether children who have recovered from Covid need to take the vaccine, and if so one dose or two.

So the best approach is to protect your children from getting infected by following safety protocols and if your child has gotten Covid and recovered from it, don’t be cavalier — continue to follow safety protocols for your child.

Covid vaccine for pregnant women

Covid vaccines have not yet been approved for pregnant women in India, although they have been approved in some other countries like the US and the UK. This is primarily because the vaccine brands in India — Covishield and Covaxin — don’t have sufficient trial data on pregnant women and the effects the vaccine may have on them.

What if I took the vaccine and then found out I’m pregnant?

If you took the vaccine shot without knowing you’re pregnant, there is no need to worry. There currently is no evidence that the vaccine can affect the foetus in any way.

In the US where pregnant women are authorized to take the Covid vaccine, there have not been any cases of miscarriage, preterm delivery, embryonic or congenital anomalies, foetal growth or developmental issues related to administration of the vaccine during pregnancy. On the contrary, in studies done in the US on pregnant women who were vaccinated, it was found that the protective antibodies were isolated in the umbilical cord at the time of delivery and in the breast milk, which indicated the immunity was transferred to the newborns at birth.

Please contact your Gynecologist and discuss with them if you want to learn more.

Covid vaccine for couples who are planning to get pregnant

While there is no evidence that taking the Covid vaccine has any impact on fertility in either men or women or on conception, our recommendation for couples who are planning to get pregnant is to get both vaccination shots before conception. Since people can have some side effects after vaccination, it is better to plan on conception a few days after vaccination.

Talk to your Gynecologist if you have further questions on this aspect, as this is an important decision.

Covid vaccine for lactating (breastfeeding) women

The Covid vaccines have been approved recently by the Indian Government as safe to take for lactating women.

Milk supply

Taking the Covid vaccine does not impact a lactating woman’s milk supply. Studies in the US have shown that lactating women can pass antibodies against Covid to the child.

How long should I wait after delivering my baby to take the vaccine

The Health Ministry has stated that women can take the vaccine at any time after delivery, provided they are in a healthy condition. Talk to your Gynecologist to assess your health after delivery and take her/his advice on when to get vaccinated.

Summary

The Covid vaccine has been approved for lactating women, but not yet for pregnant women in India.

Covid vaccines have not yet been trialed on children in India and hence are not approved for children.

Originally published in Medium: https://medium.com/@ovum.pediatrics/covid-vaccine-for-kids-pregnant-women-and-lactating-mothers-2340a604bb87

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