KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — Malaysia has reported 144 Covid-19 deaths among pregnant women as of September 14, with records showing that none are fully vaccinated, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
Khairy said 5,636 pregnant women contracted the virus between March and July 2021, while 152,026 pregnant women have received their Covid-19 vaccinations. It is unclear if the latter refers to fully vaccinated or those with at least first jabs.
He said this in a parliamentary written reply last Wednesday to Kuala Krai MP Abdul Latiff Abdul Rahman, who requested for the number of Covid-19 deaths among pregnant women who did not take the vaccine and a detailed study on the effectiveness and side effects of the vaccine on pregnant women.
“Pregnant women are classified as a high-risk group and given priority vaccination under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (PICK).
“Although the Covid-19 vaccine recommendation for pregnant women is after 12 weeks of pregnancy, pregnant women are not barred from receiving the vaccine at any time during pregnancy after taking into account the risks and benefits. All types of Covid-19 vaccines under PICK are safe and effective for this group,” Khairy said.
He said the decision to administer Covid-19 vaccines to pregnant women in Malaysia was made after an expert group under the Special Committee on Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply (JKJAV) made recommendations on its suitability, effectiveness and safety.
Khairy said according to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine in June 2021, and the V-safe Covid-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry published by the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines are effective and safe for pregnant women without increased risks to the baby. The side effects for pregnant women are similar to those for women who are not pregnant.