Breastfeeding mothers optimistic over Covid-19 vaccine rule changes
Dubai Health Authority allows breast-feeding mothers to now get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
Breast-feeding mothers and women trying to conceive are set to sign up for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Dubai Health Authority said the shots would be made available to them from Saturday.
Clinical trials showed the mRNA vaccine is safe for women in those categories. Other vaccines are yet to be approved for such use.
Fleur Beach from the UK, is 28-weeks pregnant with twin boys was “elated” by the news.
“I’d like to get the vaccine as soon as I can after delivering,” the 39-year-old said.
I contracted Covid-19 at 20 weeks and was admitted to hospital with Covid pneumonia. The treatment options are very limited - it felt very scary
“I contracted Covid-19 at 20 weeks in February, and on day seven after testing positive I was admitted to hospital with Covid pneumonia.
“Due to my pregnancy I wasn’t eligible for any of the anti-viral medication that is available to other Covid patients.
"The treatment options are very limited when you’re pregnant.
“If there is a compelling evidence and data that vaccination is safe during pregnancy I would have opted for it.”
The DHA decision comes as the UK government ruled that even pregnant women in Britain should be offered either the vaccines.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation updated its advice after data showed about 90,000 pregnant women in the US had received the shots, “without any safety concerns being raised”.
Previously, pregnant women were advised against receiving vaccine because of the lack of data on the possible side effects.
Breastfeeding mothers consider options
Natalie Teperdijian, a breastfeeding mother from the US, is not yet ready to take the vaccine – choosing instead to take precautions and socialise within a small bubble of friends.
"I think everyone should be given access and have the choice to decide for themselves if they want a vaccine," the 44-year-old said.
"Personally, I will not take a vaccine while breastfeeding.
"Taking any of the vaccines involves risk as they are all technically still being tested."
Lala Langtry-White, a licensed doula who runs Small and Mighty Babies in Dubai supports women through their pregnancy and birth.
The 40-year-old from the UK also offers breastfeeding counselling, and has chatted to many new mothers about receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.
"Opinion around taking the vaccine when breastfeeding is still incredibly mixed. A lot of mothers feel like the information out there isn't very clear," she said.
"There are those who have been waiting for it to be approved, and there are those who are adamant they would never consider it."
Whatever the decision, she said parents should avoid "forming an opinion based on consensus from online communities."
Aysha Awwad, who is 35-weeks pregnant with her first child, said the fact that other vaccines are not suitable for pregnant women worries her.
“Even though you know your feelings are irrational, the stories can still tweak your anxiety,” she said.
"At the moment I’m a little bit on the fence.”
Women who are trying to conceive are advised to get the vaccine, even if they are going through IVF, said Cassie Destino, a certified fertility doula from the US who runs the group IVF Support UAE.
"Both the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists in the UK and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine are encouraging women who are thinking about getting pregnant to get a vaccine," she said.
"We know that pregnant women may be at higher risk for severe illness if they contract Covid-19.
"The advice for the women of the UAE who are considering pregnancy is to get the Pfizer vaccine at their earliest opportunity."
How to book an appointment for a Covid-19 vaccine?
People must generate a Medical Record Number (MRN) on the DHA app to book an appointment for vaccination.
Those who do not have a MRN can get one by:
1. Visiting the DHA website – www.dha.gov.ae
2. Following the direct link – bit.ly/MRN_E
They should enter their Emirates ID number to receive a one-time password on their registered mobile number. On confirmation, their MRN number will appear on the website.
If the OTP is forwarded to a different mobile number, users can get it corrected by calling Identity and Citizenship – UAE on 600 522 222
After getting the MRN number, people are advised to book an appointment for vaccination through the DHA’s toll-free number 800 342 or by downloading the DHA application.
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Updated: April 22, 2021 01:10 PM