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COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy: A review of the evidence shows they are safe – SABC News

COVID-19 vaccines have been controversial since they were developed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, despite proven safety and effectiveness. One of the concerns was whether the vaccines are safe for pregnant women. A recent review reviewed the available evidence from North America, Israel and Europe. The Conversation Africa’s Ozayr Patel asked vaccine specialist Marta C. Nunes to summarize the findings.


How did you collect the evidence?

Current COVID-19 vaccines have not been tested in pregnant women in the initial clinical trials. But in many countries, pregnant women got the vaccine. Since the vaccines became available, observational studies have been conducted to gather information about the safety of the vaccines and their effectiveness.

We reviewed more than 30 studies from a number of different countries that included data on pregnant women and COVID vaccines.

What have you found?

We divided our review into three components: security; immunogenicity (strength of immune response); and protective effect.

The question was whether it was safe to vaccinate pregnant women with COVID vaccines. None of the studies raised safety concerns about these vaccines during pregnancy. Reactions to the vaccine reported by pregnant women were similar to reactions reported by other adult individuals receiving the vaccine. There was no difference in safety between pregnant women and the general population.

The second component was immunogenicity: how well the pregnant women’s immune systems responded to the vaccine. The immune response of pregnant women to the vaccine was similar to that of non-pregnant women. Basically, after vaccination, they had the same level of antibodies. And these antibodies could cross the placenta. The antibodies could be found in the newborn’s cord blood, which probably gives the baby some protection during the first few months of life.

The third part of the review focused on the protective effects of vaccines. It examined whether vaccines protect pregnant women from COVID-19. There aren’t many studies examining this yet. But existing studies found that mothers who received the COVID vaccine were protected from disease, as were their babies. Vaccination of pregnant women is similar to vaccination of other adults. The big advantage is that it also protects babies.

Should women take the vaccines?

We recommend it. This is because several studies, including an unpublished study by our research unit in South Africa, show that women who are pregnant and contract COVID have a higher risk of preterm birth. Some studies have also shown that women who contract COVID during pregnancy have a higher risk of stillbirth. Therefore, it is really important to protect pregnant women from COVID-19.

Which vaccinations are the best for pregnant women?

Most of the studies in our review looked at mRNA vaccines. This is because most of the studies have been conducted in countries where these vaccines are primarily used. That is why the World Health Organization is currently recommending mRNA vaccines. Not many studies have looked at vector-based vaccines, such as the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines. Studies involving the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines found no problems with them. Studies are underway that also look at other vaccines.

What other vaccinations do pregnant women receive?

Vaccination of pregnant women is not a new concept. In South Africa, pregnant women are given the tetanus vaccine. Influenza vaccination is also recommended for pregnant women. You can also get the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine through the private healthcare system in South Africa and many other countries. It is definitely not a new concept to give vaccines to pregnant women and they have been shown to be safe and protective.

However, data from low- and middle-income countries is sparse. It is important to get data from these countries as the populations are somewhat different. We know that women in the African region may have some comorbidities that women in the US tend not to have. It would be valuable to have studies and observations from African countries or other low and middle income countries where the situation might be different.

Marta C NunesReader and Senior Scientist in the Research Unit Meningeal Pathogens, University of the Witwatersrand

This article is republished by The conversation under a Creative Commons license. read this original article.

COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy: A review of the evidence shows they are safe – SABC News

Source link COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy: A review of the evidence shows they are safe – SABC News

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