Srinagar: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Monday said pregnant women should get Covid-19 vaccine.
“Expecting mothers are now considered a high risk group and we should extend vaccine to them on priority basis,” said DAK President and influenza expert Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement.
Quoting a new study published in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, he said Covid-19 vaccine has been found to be safe for both mother and the baby.
Nisar said the study showed that the vaccine generates a robust immune response in pregnant women, equivalent to the general population.
“Additionally, protective antibodies were also isolated in umbilical cord and breast milk, implying protection to the unborn and the newborn,” he said.
Nisar said the CDC recommends that vaccine should be given to pregnant women. “While the Union health ministry is not recommending vaccine to pregnant women at this time as there was no data available to ensure safety in pregnancy,” he said.
“But, now we have evidence. And, we should offer vaccines to them,” he added.
The DAK President said pregnant women are experiencing more severe illness in the second wave than was observed in the first wave. “We are seeing an increase in the number of pregnant women requiring intensive care and ending up on ventilators”.
“While previous reports had concluded that pregnant women were not at increased risk of severe disease, recent evidence suggests that they are more vulnerable to severe Covid,” Nisar said. “As per a recent study by Oxford University, Pregnant women infected with Covid-19 face a higher risk of complications than previously known.”
He said the medical literature indicates that maternal Covid-19 infection affects pregnancy outcomes, with increased evidence of iatrogenic preterm births and cesarean section births due to maternal or fetal compromise or both.
“Additionally, convincing evidence suggests now that vertical transmission of Covid-19 occurs and is a relatively common route of transmission to those neonates diagnosed with the infection immediately after birth,” the DAK president said.
“The higher risk of severe Covid-19 suggests that pregnancy should be now considered a high risk condition and we should prioritize immunization in pregnant women,” added Nisar.