As robust policies are in place for vaccine rollout in Pakistan, there seems to be a lack of consensus about vaccine administration to Pregnant Pakistani Women.
Few weeks ago, some young pregnant women under my care asked for opinions on this topic. I and my peers were reluctant to recommend them in favor of vaccination for covid-19. We thought it would not be the best practice given the lack of sufficient evidence on the safety of vaccines for pregnant women.
A review of the latest medical news from Europe, America, and China stirred me up to elaborate on this topic. Faced with a clinical dilemma, physicians in the third world usually refer to American or British guidelines to match the standard of care.
Vaccines declared safe yet confusion continues
Currently, National health Regulatory agencies in America and Europe are recommending in favor of pregnant women’s vaccination against covid-19. It is however at the discretion of women to get vaccinated. Detailed information is provided for the public over the official websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as Royal College UK.
Since 2019, expert opinions were divided on whether to include pregnant women at high risk of covid in comparison to the general population. The third and fourth tide of the novel coronavirus has shifted many concepts.
Now, evidence suggests that although a majority of pregnant women who tested positive for the virus do not show any symptoms but the rate of a baby dying in the mother’s womb or getting delivered earlier gets doubled. Among those who get admitted to the hospital for control of symptoms, 1 in 10 needs Intensive care.
Researchers in the Western world admit and acknowledge that data on the safety of vaccines is insufficient but the vaccine is the only medical option to prevent corona infection. Additionally, media reports world over the associate burden of disease mainly in the unvaccinated populations.
The factual data on vaccines for pregnant women
Facts in favor of mRNA vaccines (Pfizer, Biotech & Moderna) among 134,000 pregnant women were observed in America(130,000) and Scotland (4000) without any significant short-term adverse reactions. V-safe registers have been started to gather ongoing information about the health and well-being of these women, using phone-based text messages and web surveys.
Physicians in Pakistan may use this information as guiding principles for women receiving Pfizer Biotech & Moderna vaccines. Such a heroic step will call for an individualized follow-up plan whereby patient can directly access and report back any concerns. Given the amiable doctor-patient relationship at high-end clinics, this may do well!
On the other hand, the Health Ministry of Pakistan may also collaborate with National Health Commission, Beijing, China for guidance as similar initiatives are in place for Chinese women as well.
I hope we can also achieve a National guideline on covid-19 vaccination for the Pakistani Pregnant Population.
The author has done MBBS, MCPS, FCPS, MCCEE, and is a consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist at Mega Medical Complex. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.