Should pregnant, breastfeeding women get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot?

Published January 20, 2022, 2:38 PM

by Analou de Vera


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine booster shot is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, said the Philippine Infectious Disease Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology (PIDSOG) on Thursday, Jan. 20.

“COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for pregnant women. There is no evidence of adverse maternal or fetal effects from vaccinating pregnant individuals with the COVID-19 vaccine,” said PIDSOG President Dr. Sybil Lizanne Bravo in a media forum hosted by the Department of Health (DOH).

“[Is] COVID vaccine booster recommended for our breastfeeding women? Again, yes po ang answer. Ganun din po (The answer is yes. It’s the same). At least three months from their second dose or from their primary series,” she added.

There is still no reported serious adverse events following immunization (AEFIs) among pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and to infants so far.

“In my practice, so far wala pa akong naririnig na may adverse effects except yung mga mild na sinasabi—yung (I have not heard of any adverse effects except the mild ones— the) injection site reactions,” said Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS) President Dr. Marilyn Dee.

“Sa bata if may epekto? Wala pong masamang epekto ang vaccines paglaki niya po. Although of course very new pa ito pero in terms of abnormality, wala pong nakikitang epekto sa ngayon (If there is an [adverse] effect on the child? Vaccines do not have a bad effect when the child grows up. Although of course the vaccines are still very new, but in terms of abnormality, there is no visible effect so far),” added Bravo.

Studies have shown that breastfeeding women who are vaccinated against COVID-19 can pass on that protection to their babies, said Bravo.

“Vaccine-induced antibodies were found in breast milk samples among women indicating the transfer of antibodies from mothers to infants,” said Bravo.

“Pag ang isang bata nakuha niya ang antibodies through breast milk sa kanyang nanay, malaki po ang chance na hindi siya mahawahaan ng COVID sa first three to six months of life niya po. So ayun yung magandang epekto (If a child gets antibodies through breast milk from his mother, there is a good chance that he will not be infected with COVID in the first three to six months of his life. So that’s the good effect),” she added.

Mothers who are infected with COVID-19 can still continue to breastfeed their babies, said Philippine Society of Maternal and Fetal Medicine Dr. Carmela Madrigal-Dy.

“Ang mga breastfeed[ing] mothers, kahit may COVID infection, pwede naman silang magbreast feed pa rin sa kanilang babies. Provided na gumamit pa rin ng precautions like mag mask sila, handwashing—yung safety measures na sinasabi natin (Breastfeeding mothers, even with COVID infection, can still breastfeed their babies. Provided that they still use precautions like wearing masks, handwashing),” she added.