NIAC advice on Covid-19 vaccination updated for pregnant and breastfeeding women

A Cork GP explains why she chose to get vaccinated now while breastfeeding her child.
NIAC advice on Covid-19 vaccination updated for pregnant and breastfeeding women

A nurse prepares a dose of a Covid-19 vaccination. File Picture.

Updated guidelines on the Covid-19 vaccines put pregnant healthcare workers in the priority grouping.

The National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) has extended their advice for vaccinators and said pregnant women who are healthcare workers or who have medical conditions which put them at high risk of severe disease are included in the respective priority groups.

The two-dose regime should start after 14 weeks gestation and finish by 33 completed weeks.

NIAC said: “There is no known reason for vaccinees to avoid breastfeeding. Breastfeeding mothers should be vaccinated according to their risk grouping.” 

In Mallow, Dr Brenda Moran is breastfeeding her nine-month-old baby. A GP who works in hospitals, she was vaccinated last week with the Pfizer/BioNTech shot.

Following advice to read up on her health situation, she used information on the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website to understand any risks. She also looked at equivalent websites in America and the UK to make sure she was not missing anything.

She said: “The sources agree that there is no obvious biological reason why the vaccine could be harmful to your child.

"It is a non-live vaccine, and other non-live vaccines can be given when breastfeeding, such as the flu vaccine.” 

Breastfeeding women were not part of the original trials. 

Dr Moran was vaccinated at the South Infirmary Victoria Hospital in Cork \city.

“It was very well organised, calm, and efficient,” she said. 

“I had to fill out a consent form in advance and it was another opportunity to read up on the vaccine. The vaccine injection was straightforward, similar to getting a flu vaccine.” 

A Covid-19 Vaccine Decision Aid for pregnant women is on the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website here.

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