Health minister: Pregnant, nursing mothers can register to be vaccinated, but must obtain clearance from specialist

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
·2-min read
Dr Adham Baba speaks at a press conference after the launch of the National Immunisation Program website and guidebook launch in Putrajaya February 16, 2021. — Bernama pic
Dr Adham Baba speaks at a press conference after the launch of the National Immunisation Program website and guidebook launch in Putrajaya February 16, 2021. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 1 — Despite insufficient data on the potential effects of the Covid-19 vaccines in expecting and nursing mothers, the Health Ministry will allow them to be inoculated if the benefits outweigh the risks, Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said today.

Dr Adham however stressed that the decision to either allow or advise these mothers against receiving their vaccine shots must come from a specialist after assessing their potential risk levels.

He said information like one’s medical background and pregnancy schedule should all be made available to specialists when deciding on getting the vaccine.

He pointed out that the specialist treating expecting mothers must also make it clear to their patient that there is still insufficient data to show the potential effects of a pregnant woman being injected with the vaccine, underscoring the need for the risk assessment exercise.

“The administering of the Covid-19 vaccine can be considered if the benefits from being vaccinated outweigh the risks exposed to the recipient and the overall safety of their developing infant.

“Even for pregnant women in high-risk groups like those suffering from comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, they will also be considered among those to receive the vaccine.

“We will evaluate each of these instance on a case-by-case basis, after discussions with their doctors, and after being made aware that there is still insufficient clinical data available,” he said during a virtual press conference held this afternoon over Zoom.

He pointed out that that priority will be given to pregnant front liners looking to receive the vaccination before those from the general public.

Also present during the press conference earlier today was Coordinating Minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin.

Dr Adham then shared the findings from Pfizer’s clinical trials, where two out of the 23 pregnant women who were part of the phase-3 clinical trials suffered miscarriages.

He explained that all 23 women who volunteered and took part in the clinical trials were actually unaware they had already conceived and were pregnant during the tests, with Pfizer originally excluding pregnant women from their test groups.

However, he said the two who suffered the miscarriages were the ones administered with placebos instead, detailing that 12 women had received the actual vaccine and 11 the placebo.

Dr Adham added that mothers, expecting and still nursing, suffering from immunocompromised diseases can also apply to be vaccinated upon a specialist’s approval, again pointing out the lack of clinical data related to the effects of the vaccine when administered into those with compromised immunities.

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