Covid-19
Amref Health Africa CEO, Dr Githinji Gitahi.

Health experts have urged pregnant women and those who have been recently pregnant to go for the Covid-19 jab the earliest it becomes available.

The debate on whether pregnant women should take Covid-19 shot has been on for a while since they were not included in previous clinical trials, with vaccination posts maintaining that pregnant women are not eligible for inoculation.

Last week, the Kenya Union of Clinical Officers decried losing some of their pregnant members to the virus, calling for the exclusion from the duty of all healthcare workers who are either pregnant or vulnerable until the fourth wave is put under control.

“It has become apparent that pregnancy predisposes to severe and critical disease compounded by the fact that pregnant women are currently not being vaccinated against Covid-19,” Kenya Union of Clinical Officers secretary general George Gibore said.

Amref Health Africa CEO, Dr Githinji Gitahi, acknowledged that failure to take the vaccine during pregnancy might lead to severe disease and even or death.

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“Whether you are planning to get pregnant, whether you are pregnant, whether you are breastfeeding, do receive the Covid-19 vaccine when it is available for you, especially when you are pregnant,” Dr Gitahi said.

When you get Covid-19 and you are unvaccinated, you are likely to proceed to severe disease, hospitalisation, possible loss of a child and possible loss of life, the Amref boss said.

“This is the consensus of the global scientific community, including the International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists,” noted Dr Gitahi.

According to the latest advisory by the World Health Organization, both breastfeeding and pregnant women are advised to go for the AstraZeneca vaccine like any other adults.

The global health agency says even though data are not available on the potential benefits or risks of the vaccine to breastfed children, the AstraZeneca vaccine is not a live virus vaccine hence it is biologically and clinically unlikely to pose risk to the child.

The WHO had earlier stated it has no reason to believe there will be specific risks that outweigh the benefits of vaccination for pregnant women,  noting that pregnant women, especially healthcare workers, are at high risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and that may add to their risk of severe disease, adding that they may be vaccinated in consultation with their healthcare provider.

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