Benefits outweigh side effects
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Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony
Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony

— Minister Anthony urges pregnant and breastfeeding women to take COVID-19 vaccine

HEALTH Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, is again calling on pregnant and breastfeeding women to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the benefits of taking the vaccine far surpass the side effects.

Speaking during Monday’s COVID-19 update, the Health Minister stated that all the scientific data available shows that the vaccines are safe to be taken at any stage of pregnancy.

“Whether it’s the first three months, second three months or the last three months, it is safe throughout the pregnancy. So, at what point you choose to get the vaccine, it doesn’t matter; you can get the vaccine, so as to protect yourself,” he said.

Pregnant women are more at risk at becoming seriously ill with COVID-19. Taking any of the COVID-19 vaccines available – AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Sputnik V or the Pfizer BioNtech, reduces the chances of getting infected, hospitalised and dying.

Minister Anthony said, in addition to these benefits, “when the baby is born, and you’re breastfeeding the baby the antibodies that your body would have produced would also pass through the breast milk so that the baby would have some form of immunity as well.”

Last Thursday, in an effort to reduce the number of positive COVID-19 infections in pregnant and breastfeeding women, the Ministry of Health rolled out a targeted vaccination campaign. Previously, the ministry was offering the AstraZenca, Sinopharm and Sputnik V vaccines; however, following a survey, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine has been added to the list of those offered to women in this category.

Dr. Anthony said that, since then, there has been an increase in the interest shown to get vaccinated against the disease.

“A lot of women have been showing interest in getting vaccinated. They’ve been asking a lot of questions and as we roll it out to different regions. I expect that we will have higher uptake.

We have also been working with the private hospitals and the doctors of those hospitals have been promoting for pregnant women and breastfeeding women to get vaccinated,” he said.

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