COVID Vaccines: Some Questions Answered
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Category : ASK ME ANYTHING
In India currently, there are three types of vaccines available for Covid-19 – Covaxin (inactivated virus), Covishield and Sputnik V (non-replicating viral vectors). They work in different ways to protect us from the deadly disease. There are many doubts and questions regarding the vaccines, particularly for their safety in pregnant, breast-feeding and menstruating women. Here are some answers.
Q) How do vaccines protect us? Why are vaccines necessary in order to keep ourselves protected from the covid-19 disease? A. The Covid-19 vaccine produces immunity; it makes our immune system strong enough to fight the infection. It helps our body create antibodies against the SARS-Cov-2 virus which reduces the risk of developing the illness and its grave consequences.

Q) Should breastfeeding women take the vaccine?

A. WHO recommends that breastfeeding women can and should take the vaccine since there’s no risk from the vaccine as it doesn’t contain the live virus. The vaccine when taken helps the mother fight the infection. There’s very little possibility that the antibodies be transmitted from the mother through her milk to the baby. In that case, also, it only protects the baby from contracting the virus and there’s absolutely no harm to the mother or the baby. The mother can continue breastfeeding after taking the vaccine.

Q) Can women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant take the vaccine?

A. WHO recommends that women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant be explained the benefits and risks of taking the vaccine.
During pregnancy, the safety of the mother and the child are a major concern. Pregnant women are more susceptible to contracting the virus, hence are at a higher risk of developing the disease. Women in countries with high transmission rates or in a profession that exposes them to the virus frequently must take the vaccine since the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.

Q) Does the Covid-19 vaccine affect the menstrual cycle and fertility? Can women during their periods take the vaccine?

A. According to WHO, it’s a myth that vaccines affect fertility. They have an effect on the immune system of the body and have nothing to do with the reproductive system, hence, women can rely on the fact that vaccines do not affect fertility. Women can take vaccines during their periods. Recent studies have suggested that no major changes occur in the menstrual cycle. However, a study highlighted by NDTV suggests that there might be a link between minor menstrual changes seen in some women and the Vovid-19 vaccine. Even then, major health organizations and scientists have prompted women to take the vaccine since the changes in the menstrual cycle are temporary and harmless.

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