Covid vaccine and breastfeeding: Can you breastfeed after having the Covid vaccine?

Stacey Solomon opens up about difficulty breastfeeding

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Covid vaccines have been dished out to almost 28million people in the UK, as part of the biggest immunisation programme ever undertaken in the country. The UK Government says it aims to offer a first vaccine dose to about 32million people in nine priority groups by April 15. The programme in England is now inviting those aged 50 and over to book a Covid vaccine appointment after the first four groups – those aged 70 and over, care home residents, healthcare workers and those needing to shield – were offered a jab by the middle of February. Those groups were prioritised for a reason – they account for 88 percent of coronavirus deaths so far. From spring, the Government plans to begin vaccinating the rest of the adult population in age order, meaning another 21million people should be immunised by the end of July 2021.

Is the Covid vaccine safe for pregnant women?

In terms of pregnant women, the vaccine hasn’t been tested in pregnancy.

That means until more information is available, those who are pregnant shouldn’t “routinely” have the Covid vaccine, according to Government guidance.

The guidance adds: “Non-clinical evidence is required before any clinical studies in pregnancy can start, and before that, it is usual to not recommend routine vaccination during pregnancy.

“Evidence from non-clinical studies of the Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been reviewed by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and has raised no concerns about safety in pregnancy.

“Evidence on COVID-19 vaccines has also been reviewed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the regulatory bodies in the US, Canada and Europe and has raised no concerns about safety in pregnancy.

“The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recognised that the potential benefits of vaccination are particularly important for some pregnant women.

“This includes those who are at very high risk of catching the infection or those with clinical conditions that put them at high risk of suffering serious complications from COVID-19.

“In these circumstances, you should discuss vaccination with your doctor or nurse, and you may feel that it is better to go ahead and receive the protection from the vaccine.”

Can you breastfeed after having the Covid vaccine?

Once again, there’s no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in breastfeeding or the impact it has on the baby feeding, but it’s generally understood to be safe.

The Government guidance reads: “Despite this, COVID-19 vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant, and the benefits of breastfeeding are well known.

“Because of this, the JCVI has recommended that the vaccine can be received while breastfeeding.

“This is in line with recommendations in the US and from the World Health Organization.”

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One breastfeeding mum told Eastern Daily Press she wants to urge other breastfeeding mums to get the vaccine.

Assistant practitioner at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Sophia Hunter, said: “I had some concerns around having the vaccination while breastfeeding, due to the advice originally suggesting that it shouldn’t be taken by breastfeeding women.

“When this advice changes, I decided to speak with my GP about it.”

Speaking about the side effects, Ms Hunter said: “The only side effects I experiences were for around 48 hours, including feeling lethargic and the site of vaccination feeling a little tender.

“These subsided quickly, and I have not had ay long-lasting side effects.

“I am so glad that I decided to have the vaccine.

“It has given me more confidence when going outside for walks, going to the supermarkets and seeing my support bubble.”

If you continue to have concerns about the vaccine and breastfeeding, speak to your GP, midwife or health visitor for advice on what you can do and whether the jab is right for you.

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