(*) = 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.
Alternatively, if only one or two doses were completed during the first pregnancy, the remaining doses can be continued in the current pregnancy.
Can a mother who recovered from a COVID-19 infection still be vaccinated?
Answer: Yes, it is possible and recommended. However, based on current guidelines, she should wait until she has fully recovered or becomes asymptomatic. This is typically 10 to 14 days after first being diagnosed.
Can hypertensive pregnant women receive COVID-19 vaccines?
Answer: Yes, women with known hypertension or preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) would definitely benefit from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Hypertension is one of the comorbidities that can increase the risk and severity of COVID infection.
What happens if a woman gets a vaccine but she did not know she was pregnant?
Answer: There is no need to worry. The majority of vaccines have no known risk during pregnancy, even the first trimester. However, most doctors prefer to give any vaccines during the second or third trimester as an added precaution. A woman can wait until the second trimester to receive the succeeding doses of her vaccine. She may also opt to hold off until after delivery.
Are there any studies on adverse effects on babies when a mother receives a vaccine?
Answer: There is a lack of studies done regarding the effects of vaccines on pregnant mothers and their children. Much of the recommendations are made based on theoretical knowledge. But so far, there are no major adverse effects reported in these cases.
Can pregnant women get HPV vaccines?
Answer: No, this vaccine is contraindicated in both pregnant and breastfeeding women. If a woman got pregnant before completing all of the doses, she should wait until after delivery to receive the vaccine.
Although the HPV vaccine is not a live vaccine, it is not ideal for pregnant women. This is because the vaccine works best before the first sexual contact (coitarche). Therefore, the HPV vaccine does not provide much protection for pregnant women.
If a woman has an abortion or miscarriage, should she still continue her Td/TDaP vaccines?
Answer: She may if she chooses to. The main purpose of receiving Td/TDaP during pregnancy is to offer protection to newborn babies who cannot receive these vaccines until 2 months of age. If she chooses not to complete all of the doses, there is also no harm.
In summary, vaccines for pregnant women are available and encouraged. Two of the most important shots to get during pregnancy are the influenza vaccine and the Td or TDaP vaccines. Additionally, they can safely receive the mRNA-type COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant and breastfeeding. Under most circumstances, pregnant women should not receive live vaccines.
For more information on vaccines, talk to your doctor and visit Philippine Foundation for Vaccination at http://www.philvaccine.org/.
Learn more about Other Mothercare Topics here.