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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — An expert committee has been formed to look into the risks and safety of administering the Covid-19 vaccine to pregnant women, the Health Ministry said today.
Dr Kalaiarasu M. Peariasamy, director of the Clinical Research Institute under the ministry, said that the committee comprises obstetricians, gynaecologists and paediatricians and other health experts who deal with pregnancies daily.
“As we know, pregnant women are not included in the clinical trials, so we do not have any data with regards to this. However, in the rollout of the vaccine in the United States, there are already recipients of the vaccines who are pregnant.
“This data is being closely monitored and we will look closely at how the pregnancy outcome is. But the current evidence does not seem to contraindicate directly, nor does it support directly – so it’s a mixed decision,” he said in a press conference today.
He added that some decisions pertaining to pregnant women are based on risk.
“The risk of Covid-19 is to the expectant mother; it could put a pregnancy at risk. This is what the data shows,” he said.
“So, some countries advocate discussions between medical practitioners and expectant mothers on these risks.
“Based on that, together with informed consent, some women who are in their second trimester might consider taking the vaccine.”
However, he said this is not a universally accepted viewpoint due to the lack of clinical trial data.
“So, this determination of whether you should put yourself at risk of infection while pregnant — perhaps from exposure at work or close contacts — means the expectant mother must weigh the benefits versus the risks with her doctor.
Before more data becomes available, he advised pregnant women to delay getting vaccinated until after delivery.
“But certainly, we do not want to aggravate the pregnancy in any way. That would be the main consideration.
“The ministry has a committee looking into this, to seek clarity over possible outcomes before the rollout is actually implemented,” he said.