KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — A new feature will be introduced in the MySejahtera application by the end of the week to identify pregnant and breastfeeding women to receive their recommended Covid-19 vaccines, Khairy Jamaluddin said today.
Pregnant and lactating mothers can update their details in the Covid-19 and vaccination government app to get appointments for their shots, according to the Covid-19 Vaccine Coordinating Minister.
“We will make the vaccines which are recommended for pregnant mothers as well as lactating mothers, available for them,” Khairy told a joint press conference with Health Minister Dr Adham Baba today.
However, Khairy also highlighted that the decision on whether or not to provide the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine for pregnant women will be discussed in the next meeting of the Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV).
“We’ll be making a decision on whether or not AstraZeneca can be given to pregnant mothers at the JKJAV meeting on Thursday where policy and clinical decisions are made.”
The science, technology and innovation minister added that Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine is recommended for women who are in their 14th to 33rd week of pregnancy.
“The instructions have been given that if you’re lactating or breastfeeding, you can receive both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines and if you are pregnant, for now, we will allocate you an appointment to get the Pfizer vaccine.”
According to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women face increased risks of getting severe illness from Covid-19 compared to non-pregnant women.
“Additionally, pregnant people with Covid-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes compared with pregnant women without Covid-19,” the CDC mentioned in its statement updated May 14.
The clinical guidelines by Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) do not recommend AstraZeneca or Sinovac vaccines for pregnant women, while for Pfizer’s vaccine, pregnant women are encouraged to discuss with their doctor the risks and benefits of Covid-19 vaccination.
JKJAV’s guidance issued yesterday highlighted no safety concerns for pregnant women from Covid-19 mRNA vaccines, namely Pfizer and Moderna.
JKJAV also said that large-scale Ebola vaccination trials, which used viral vector vaccines in pregnant women, showed no adverse outcomes for mother and infant, but there is insufficient data on the use of Covid-19 viral vector vaccines, such as AstraZeneca.
“Though these vaccines are not contraindicated, administration to a pregnant or lactating mother should be individualised and based on risk benefit assessment. However, an mRNA vaccine is preferred if available,” JKJAV said.
It added that “current evidence does not indicate any risks with Covid-19 vaccinations among breastfeeding women, particularly for mRNA and AstraZeneca vaccines.”
Correction: CodeBlue reported earlier that the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine for breastfeeding women would be discussed at JKJAV’s meeting. Khairy said that this discussion on AstraZeneca’s vaccine would only be on its use for pregnant women, not both pregnant and breastfeeding women. Breastfeeding women can receive both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca’s vaccine. The report has been corrected.