Pregnant women hesitant to receive Covid-19 vaccination despite health advice

Despite health advice, some pregnant women in Western Australia are hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

After a Facebook post from owner/hairdresser from Bunbury's Sweeney Todd Barber's Shop, the Mail investigated into what the health advice is for women who are pregnant and eligible to receive the jab.

The post, which was put online on July 17, stated the owner was 'no longer comfortable taking on COVID vaccinated clients' in the desire to do 'what's best for the health of myself and my family'.

A 31-year-old pregnant woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said she thought it was silly to think that the vaccine could be shed from vaccinated to unvaccinated individuals and that they could then somehow be 'negatively' affected by it.

"Im currently at the tail end of my pregnancy and have not been advised to either receive or not receive the Covid-19 vaccination," the woman said.

Despite not being against the vaccine, the woman said she did not believe it would be safe for pregnant women to get vaccinated at this point in the vaccination roll out.

It can be alarming to read headlines about how pregnancy can potentially lead to more serious COVID-19 outcomes. This is why, in addition to hand hygiene and social distancing, the best way for mothers-to-be to protect themselves and their baby is through vaccination.

WA Health Spokesperson

"Personally I feel there has not been enough studies done on the potential short and long term side effects for both myself and my unborn child."

Dr Amanda Sabel from the Bunbury Maternity and Women's Clinic confirmed there was an obvious hesitation amongst pregnant women in Bunbury who were eligible to receive the vaccine.

She said as evidence suggests the Pfizer vaccination is safe in pregnancy, the doctor's at the clinic did advise their eligible, pregnant patients get vaccinated.

"Corona has only existed since December 2019 so we cannot have evidence of long-term implications at this stage. However we know pregnant women who get Covid and are more unwell than non-pregnant women. There are documented cases of vertical transmission of Covid from mother to baby also, so it can cross the placenta," Dr Sabel said.

See more:

A Western Australian Health spokesperson said the department followed the recommended advice issued by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians and Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation when it came to advising pregnant women to get vaccinated.

They confirmed that pregnant women are routinely offered the Pfizer vaccine at any stage of their pregnancy.

"Global surveillance data from large numbers of pregnant women have not identified any significant safety concerns with COVID-19 vaccines given at any stage of pregnancy," the spokesperson said.

"There is also evidence of antibody in cord blood and breastmilk, which may offer protection to infants through passive immunity."

When it came to pregnant women contracting Covid-19, the spokesperson said pregnancy increased the risk of severe illness and death.

"Pregnant women who have COVID-19 appear more likely to develop respiratory complications requiring intensive care than women who aren't pregnant. Data from the USA suggests that the risk for admission to intensive care and/or be put on a ventilator is almost three times higher for pregnant women developing COVID-19 infection."

"It can be alarming to read headlines about how pregnancy can potentially lead to more serious COVID-19 outcomes. This is why, in addition to hand hygiene and social distancing, the best way for mothers-to-be to protect themselves and their baby is through vaccination."

Both the Western Australian Health Department and the Bunbury Maternity and Women's Clinic said pregnant women were encouraged to discuss the decision of receiving the Covid-19 vaccination with their health professional.

The Health Department Spokesperson also confirmed that women who are trying to become pregnant do not need to delay vaccination or avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination.

Research on the effects on pregnant women has not yet been carried out for the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca which is not recommended for people under the age of 60.