Pregnant women urged to get vaccinated as cases spike
As restrictions ease and news of a new COVID-19 variant emerges, health professionals are urging pregnant women to get vaccinated.
For many, the news of the new Omicron variant may cause stress and worry.
However, it is too early for health officials to know what this new variant will mean. This is an important reminder not to be complacent when managing and responding to COVID-19.
With a recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the board, including hospital admissions, there are ongoing concerns for pregnant women not being vaccinated. Almost 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases across Victoria have occurred in pregnant women this year, with approximately twelve of these located in the Barwon South West region.
There are currently two pregnant women receiving treatment due to COVID-19 at University Hospital Geelong and a small number of babies in the region have also contracted COVID-19.
Barwon Health Women’s and Children’s Services director Dr Geraldine Masson said women who are pregnant should consider vaccination as soon as possible to ensure they and their babies are protected.
“The risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 is significantly higher for pregnant women and their unborn babies,” she said.
“I can understand that some women may have concerns about getting vaccinated during pregnancy or while breastfeeding; however, there are no major safety concerns about COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women in Australia.”
Further to this, getting vaccinated while pregnant may help give your baby some level of immunity to COVID-19, as antibodies you produce from the vaccine may be passed to your
baby to provide them with protection within two weeks of your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.”
Vaccination while breastfeeding is also recommended, as antibodies may also be in a vaccinated mother's breastmilk and offer the baby protection.
COVID-19 vaccines have a similar outcome to the flu and whooping cough vaccines, which are both used safely during pregnancy.
Dr Masson recommended anyone who is pregnant and concerned about getting vaccinated should speak to their pregnancy care clinician or GP.
“Your GP, obstetrician or midwife can provide you with information about all vaccinations during pregnancy. As COVID-19 continues to circulate in our communities I strongly recommend anyone who is pregnant consider vaccination against COVID-19.”
This message is backed by Barwon South West Public Health Unit director, Professor Eugene Athan.
“With COVID-19 often more severe in women who are pregnant, they are a vulnerable group in our community that we want to ensure are vaccinated so they are protected along with their babies,” he said.”
“The vaccines are safe and have been approved by ATAGI. Global surveillance data from large numbers of pregnant women have not identified safety concerns with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines given at any stage of pregnancy.”
First, second and booster dose vaccinations walk-ins are currently available at the Community Vaccination Hub in Norlane or appointments can be made by calling 1800 675 398 or online portal.cvms.vic.gov.au
More information on vaccination during pregnancy or while breastfeeding can be found at www.health.gov.au
PHOTO: Barwon Health Women’s and Children’s Services director Dr Geraldine Masson