MANILA - Antibodies in COVID-19 vaccines available in the Philippines will not negatively affect pregnant women and breastfeeding babies, a health official said Friday.
COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sinovac and Sputnik V "are inactivated vaccines" which care "organisms that are not alive," said Dr. Anna Ong-Lim, who is part of the technical working group that advises the Department of Health (DOH).
"If you inject it to the pregnant woman, even if the virus particles make their way to the uterus or into the breastmilk, it will not affect the breastmilk of the breastfeeding infant," she said in an online forum.
"Puwede magtuloy ng breastfeeding even if nakapagpabakuna na," she said.
(A person who has been inoculated can continue breastfeeding.)
While COVID-19 vaccines are generally safe for expectant mothers, Lim said pregnant women should delay receiving any kind of vaccine until the second trimester of pregnancy.
"During the first trimester, there is a lot of spontaneous pregnancy loss. Kahit wala kang ginawa, puwedeng hindi matuloy yung pregnancy," she said.
(During the first trimester, there is a lot of spontaneous pregnancy loss. Even if you don't do anything, you can still lose the pregnancy.)
"Ayaw lang natin magkaroon ng confusion at mapagbintangan yung bakuna when in fact it was going to happen unfortunately," she said.
(We just don't want to create confusion with people blaming the vaccine when in fact the miscarriage was going to happen eventually.)
There are "some observations of very limited circumstances where pregnant women were vaccinated and their babies had antibodies," Lim said, but noted that further studies need to be conducted to verify the claim.
Several vaccine experts earlier said that the Philippines has yet to link COVID-19 vaccines to serious adverse effects such as death.