Can pregnant, lactating ladies take Covid vaccine? Pregnant women make up for five per cent of India’s total population. Add lactating women to that, you have got yourself a considerable portion of the population not being covered under the nationwide Covid immunisation programme currently.
While countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and China have started vaccinating expectant. And new mothers, India is yet to open up its drive to the section. Primarily because neither of the two Covid vaccines being administered in India Covishield or Covaxin have been tested on pregnant. Lactating women for efficacy or side effects.
The debate, which remained dormant due to lack of data till now, became the talking point after the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI). Recently recommended that all lactating women should be allowed to get vaccinated any time after delivery. According to reports, the panel also recommended that pregnant women should be informed and be given a choice to take any Covid-19 vaccine during ante-natal checkups.
These recommendations are yet to get the government’s approval.
The reports of these recommendations opened up a volley of questions from expectant mothers. Especially those in the third trimester, as they are at greater risk of losing the pregnancy after getting a Covid infection.
Apart from this, several people have also raised concerns regarding the vaccine’s impact on the overall gynaecological health of women, such as alleged delay in the menstrual cycle or reduced fertility.
India Today TV’s Sneha Mordani spoke to several top doctors as well as the head of NTAGI to get some of those questions answered.
Here’s what top doctors have to say about Covid-19 vaccine’s impact on pregnancy, lactation, menstrual cycles and more:
Should a woman get a vaccine if she wants to have a baby?
Yes. Covid-19 infection in pregnancy is very serious. Since the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the risks. Women should get vaccinated before getting pregnant: Dr Madhulika Sinha, Senior Gynaecologist, Akash Health Care, Delhi. Can pregnant, lactating ladies take Covid vaccine?
What should I do if I took the vaccine and I did not know I was pregnant?
Women should get vaccinated before pregnancy. Even if you take the vaccine shot while not knowing that you are pregnant. There is no need to worry or plan to terminate the pregnancy. As there is no evidence that the vaccine can lead to any defect in the baby: Dr Bhagya Lakshmi, Yashoda Hospital, Hyderabad
Does the Covid vaccine impact my fertility?
No. Covid vaccine does not have any impact on long-term or short-term fertility. It has been recommended by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine also that women planning to conceive can safely take the vaccine before planning the pregnancy: Dr Madhulika Sinha, Senior Gynaecologist, Akash Health Care, Delhi
It is a myth. There is no data or evidence to support any link between female fertility and the vaccine: Dr G Vishnu Vandana Apollo Cradles, Chennai
Does the vaccine affect the menstrual cycle?
No. A lot of studies have been going on currently and none of them have shown any impact on the gynaecological health of the women or her periods. Periods are affected by a lot of factors such as stress, exercise, food, etc. Thus, even if you experience any irregularity after vaccination, it most likely be due to other reasons: Dr Shilpa Ghosh, Director OBS and Gynaecology, Akash Health Care, Delhi
Is it safe to get the vaccine during the menstrual cycle?
We see no side effects on women getting vaccinated during the menstrual cycle. The only thing is that if you are feeling a little discomfort due to periods. Like abdominal pain, weakness or body ache, you may prefer to avoid the vaccination for a day or two. However, there is no contraindication. You may have a little bit of soreness or fever. But that is okay. That has nothing to do with your menstrual cycle: Dr Parinita Kaur, Internal Medicine specialist, Aakash Health Care, Delhi
Should pregnant women be vaccinated?
Currently, there is not enough data on the vaccine’s impact on pregnant women. That is why they are not yet eligible: Dr Parinita Kaur, Internal Medicine specialist, Aakash Health Care, Delhi
But pregnant women are being vaccinated in the US?
The vaccine being used in the United States is mRNA type, which is different from the ones being administered in India. Vaccine manufacturers in India have not yet done their work on its impact on pregnant women. However, there is an argument that since the risks and side effects of the vaccine are much less than the morbidity and mortality of the disease in pregnant women. They should be given a choice to be vaccinated: Dr Bhagya Lakshmi, Yashoda Hospital, Hyderabad