Bahrain opens Covid vaccinations for breastfeeding and pregnant women
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Two types of COVID-19 vaccines are now available for inoculating pregnant and lactating individuals here in the Kingdom. The move comes amid concerning reports that pregnancy heightens the risk of severe Coronavirus infection and that pregnant women have a greater need for protection.
Dr Maryam Ibrahim Al-Hajri, the Assistant Undersecretary for Public Health at the Ministry of Health, said the committee had approved two types of vaccines for inoculating breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women.
Dr Al-Hajri is the chair of the Health Ministry’s Vaccination Committee.
Bahrain picked vaccines developed by China’s National Pharmaceutical Group, Sinopharm, and Pfizer and BioNTech for the purpose.
Bahrain’s approval follows a recommendation by the World Health Organisation and the Centres for Disease Control in the United States of America.
Dr Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said in a recent briefing that researchers have seen “no red flags” so far from the 20,000 pregnant women participating in a federal tracking effort.
According to reports, mRNA vaccines are administered during pregnancy as they do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and, therefore, cannot give someone COVID-19.
Additionally, mRNA vaccines do not interact with a person’s DNA because the mRNA does not enter a cell nucleus. Cells break down the mRNA quickly.
Dr Al-Hajri also pointed out: “Breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women are among the groups most vulnerable to complications from the Coronavirus.”
“Vaccination will help them prevent the infection or its complications, especially in light of the rapid spread of the new mutated strain.”
While vaccination remains a personal choice, people who are pregnant and part of a group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, such as healthcare personnel, may choose to be vaccinated.
“For, it is highly-necessary to strengthen the immunity of breastfeeding and pregnant mother against the virus,” said Dr Al-Hajri.
Lactating mothers and pregnant women can register through the website health alert. gov.bh or other authorised applications.
The official said that the vaccination is optional, “but a necessity to keep everyone healthy.”
CDC says, “There are neither data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women nor on the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or milk production/excretion.”
“mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. People who are breastfeeding and are part of a group recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, such as healthcare personnel, may choose to be vaccinated.”
Five COVID-19 vaccines in Bahrain on Thursday approved a new single-dose coronavirus vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson.
The authorisation makes Bahrain the first nation in the world to authorise Janssen Covid-19, the one-shot vaccine for general use. Bahrain’s move comes a day after US regulators concluded the shot offers strong protection against severe COVID-19.
The National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) said it would dole out the vaccine shots “to elderly, people with chronic diseases and other categories determined by the Health Ministry.”
The approval for Janssen Covid-19 Vaccine also brings the number of vaccines available in Bahrain for inoculation to five.
Bahrain already uses the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, one manufactured by Chinese state-backed pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm, India’s Covishield (the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine) and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
Bahrain is providing coronavirus vaccine jab free of cost for citizens and residents.
COVID-19 measures extended for three more months Bahrain also extended the mandatory COVID-19 pre-cautionary measures for an additional three months from 28 February 2021.
The move also follows the recommendations of the National Medical Taskforce for Combating the Coronavirus (COVID-19).