The hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine is given to pregnant women if she has not been previously immunized or her antibody (anti-HBs) count is low. Get the vaccine in 3 doses; 1 to 2 months for the second dose and 4 to 6 months for the third dose.
Rabies vaccines are not routine. However, in case a pregnant mother has been bitten by a dog, cat, or other infected animals, she can safely receive a shot of this vaccine. It should be given as soon as possible because a rabies infection progresses quickly and is life-threatening.
How About the COVID-19 Vaccines?
There is limited data on the safety of the vaccine during the first trimester of pregnancy, however, pregnant women can still get vaccinated. The mRNA-type COVID vaccines can be offered to pregnant and breastfeeding women. You can avail of the vaccine if you are part of the current priority group (e.g. A3, A4).
Like with other vaccines, it is best to get it after the first trimester. Additionally, if you get the COVID vaccine, wait at least 14 days before and after getting another vaccine.
Which Vaccines Should Pregnant Women Avoid?
Aside from the vaccines that were recommended above, women should take note of the vaccines to avoid while pregnant. Most of these vaccines are live vaccines that can potentially harm a growing fetus, that is why they are contraindicated during pregnancy.
Here is a list of the vaccines to avoid during pregnancy:
- Chickenpox (varicella zoster, VZV)*
- Pneumococcal (PCV, PPSV)
- Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)*
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Polio (OPV*, IPV)
- Yellow Fever*
(*) = live virus vaccine
Are Vaccines Safe While Breastfeeding?
Yes, most vaccines are safe for lactating and breastfeeding women. Because the baby is already born, there is less risk of harm than getting vaccinated during pregnancy. In addition, many vaccines can benefit a nursing child because the antibodies within breastmilk confer passive immunity.
Interestingly, some studies have shown that women who have received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine while breastfeeding offered some immunity against the virus to their children.
Double-check with your doctor before getting any vaccine or taking medications.
Question & Answer Portion
Can the COVID vaccine (or any vaccine) cause fertility problems in women?
Answer: Dr. Rosalina Roque-Tan covered this information in her presentation, stating that so far, there is no evidence that any vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccine, can prevent or harm a pregnancy. As of now, pregnancy testing is not a prerequisite before receiving a vaccine.
If a pregnant woman did not complete her Td vaccine in her previous pregnancy, what should she receive in her present pregnancy? Td or TDaP?
Answer: In private clinics and hospitals, doctors prefer to give TDaP, as it offers more coverage. In some cases, Td can be given for the first two doses in the series, while TDaP can be given in the last dose. In public clinics and hospitals, some doctors will give the tetanus toxoid (TT) vaccine in two doses instead, especially if supplies of the other vaccines are limited.
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