Offer COVID-19 vaccines to pregnant or breastfeeding people

January 27, 2021

People who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive should be offered the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine based on ethical grounds, argue authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

They discuss how health care providers and patients can use a shared decision-making approach to weigh the risks and benefits to decide on the right action for the individual.

"Core principles of medical ethics hold that medical decisions or interventions should respect individuals' autonomy, be just, be beneficial (beneficence), and not cause harm (nonmaleficence)," writes Dr. Jonathan Zipursky, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the University of Toronto, with coauthors. "Excluding individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding from accessing the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine limits autonomy and lacks consideration of individual factors."

Although data do not indicate whether the vaccines are safe in this group, there is no evidence to show there are risks to getting vaccinated if pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive. In the 23 participants in the Pfizer-BioNTech trial who conceived after vaccination, no adverse effects were observed. Animal trials also show no adverse effects.

Evidence exists, however, that pregnant individuals are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 and pregnancy complications, including preterm birth. As women are overrepresented in front-line health care and essential service jobs, the risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 is elevated, and they should be offered protection from the virus.

"We argue that withholding the vaccine is ethically justified only if clear, substantial and imminent maternal or fetal harms are expected," the authors write.

The authors note that discussions between health care providers and patients about whether to be vaccinated will change as new evidence becomes available.

Canadian Medical Association Journal

Related Breastfeeding Articles from Brightsurf:

New guidelines say breastfeeding is safe after anaesthesia
New guidelines published by the Association of Anaesthetists in the journal Anaesthesia, to coincide with the start of World Breast Feeding Week (1-7 August) say that breastfeeding is safe after the mother has had anaesthesia, as soon as she is alert and able to feed.

New protocol on breast cancer and breastfeeding
Managing women with breast cancer who are breastfeeding is a complex issue.

Is it safe to vape while breastfeeding?
Findings from a new animal study suggest that maternal nicotine exposure during breastfeeding could be linked to problems with skull and face development.

Breastfeeding benefits during COVID-19
While the current coronavirus pandemic continues to affect all people, families will still give birth and bring new life into the world.

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Coronavirus treatment and risk to breastfeeding women
Little data is available about the ability of antiviral drugs used to treat COVID-19, coronavirus, to enter breastmilk, let alone the potential adverse effects on breastfeeding infants.

Managing cannabis use in breastfeeding women
As more states legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis use and increasingly decriminalize cannabis, the risk to the growth and development of breastfeeding infants whose mothers use cannabis becomes a growing public health concern.

New recommendations released on bedsharing to promote breastfeeding
Leading experts representing The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) have released new evidence-based recommendations regarding the benefits and risks of bedsharing for mother-infant pairs who have initiated breastfeeding and are in home settings.

Apps help with breastfeeding -- at a cost
Mobile phone apps are increasingly being used to support breastfeeding decisions - sometimes at a cost, a Flinders University study indicates.

Breastfeeding disparities among us children by race/ethnicity
Overall rates of breastfeeding increased from 2009 to 2015 but they varied by race/ethnicity in this observational study that used national survey data for nearly 168,000 infants in the United States.

Read More: Breastfeeding News and Breastfeeding Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to