Health workers urged to discuss vaccine benefits, risks with pregnant women

The Department of Health announced on Saturday that all pregnant and breastfeeding women who are eligible to be vaccinated can receive the Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson jab.

FILE: The department recommended that the available vaccines in the country can be offered to expecting mothers, however, guidelines on administering the vaccines caution that the patient must have completed 14 weeks of gestation. Picture: 123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Health has encouraged healthcare workers to discuss the benefits and possible risks of COVID-19 vaccines with pregnant and breastfeeding women.

The department announced on Saturday that all pregnant and breastfeeding women who are eligible to be vaccinated can receive the Pfizer or Johnson and Johnson jab.

This comes as clinical trials evaluating the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy are now under way.

The department recommended that the available vaccines in the country can be offered to expecting mothers, however, guidelines on administering the vaccines caution that the patient must have completed 14 weeks of gestation.

Chief director Dr Lesley Bamford said: “We would like healthcare workers to discuss the issue with these women especially the fact that safety data for vaccines in pregnant and breastfeeding women are currently inadequate. But there are also known benefits, we know that pregnant women do have a strong immune response, and this protects them and their babies from infection.”

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