By John Isaac
PREGNANT and breastfeeding women are advised to defer taking the Covid-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to avoid any possible side effects.
Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Medical Microbiology lecturer Associate Professor Dr Niazlin Mohd Taib said this is because there was currently no clinical evidence to support the use of the vaccine among the group.
“Pregnant mothers should not take a live virus vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccine that does not use the live virus.
“Although there should be no problem for pregnant and breastfeeding women to get the vaccine since it is an mRNA vaccine, there is no clear data (on the use of the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy) including from Pfizer itself…it would be better to wait first,” she said in a Bernama TV programme “Koresponden”.
On the allergic reactions that may occur due to the vaccination, Niazlin said besides mRNA as its main active ingredient, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine also contains a variety of inactive chemicals including polyethene glycol (PEG) which likely to cause allergies.
“PEG is actually commonly used in food preservatives and sometimes in skincare products. What’s important is, you must inform the health officers about your known allergies before getting vaccinated,” she said.
For those who have perennial allergies, Niazlin said it is important to take all precautionary measures prior to getting the Covid-19 vaccine, adding that medical personnel were always ready to attend to any emergency.
At the same time, she said, those with a history of a severe allergic reaction to vaccines, are not encouraged to take the Covid-19 vaccine.
She also said that people with very low immunity including those on chemotherapy will be excluded from getting the vaccine. – Bernama