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Experts endorse BioNTech jabs for pregnant women

23 April 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

BioNTech jabs give better protection for both mother & baby, studies show

BioNTech inoculation is not only safe for pregnant women and nursing mothers, it also provides protection for their babies, experts advising the Hong Kong government said.

Speaking at a press conference held Thursday evening, Prof David Hui of the Chinese University in Hong Kong said the expert committee has recommended the use of mRNA vaccines such as BioNTech for pregnant women as there are no known risks associated with their use.


“For pregnancy and the vaccination, there are now more than 90,000 women (worldwide) who have received the mRNA vaccines and the safety profile has been very good-no arnormalities detected,” he said.

What’s more, researchers have reportedly found that expectant women are able to better protect their babies because they acquire higher antibody levels after vaccination.


“The antibody level acquired through the vaccination is even higher than those who underwent natural infection during pregnancy,” Hui said.

“Researchers have also found a good antibody level in the (umbilical) cord blood and also in the breast milk, so that would confer protection of the baby.”

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Hui said mothers who have qualms about the vaccine’s possible impact on their babies can choose to be vaccinated 12 weeks into their pregnancy.

He added that no similar recommendation has yet been made for the Sinovac jab because its manufacturers on the mainland have yet to remove a contra-indication warning for use of the vaccine by pregnant women.

Without the jab, pregnant women & their newborn are exposed to severe medical risks

Meanwhile a study by British scientists released Friday night showed pregnant women who get infected with Covid-19 face higher risks of complications, along with their newborn children.

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Babies born of infected mothers have been found to have a three-fold risk of having severe medical complications, the study conducted by scientists at Oxford University showed.

Pregnant women, on the other hand, are 50% more likely to face serious complications such as premature birth, high blood pressure with organ failure risk, need for intensive care, and possible death.

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On Apr 14, Hong Kong recorded two cases of miscarriage by women who received BioNTech jabs. But the expert panel has ruled out any connection between the miscarriage and the jabs that the women had received.

Separately, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US said there is evidence Covid-19 vaccination is safe for pregnant women. The new evidence was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.


Reports said the results were based on feedback from more than 35,000 American women who received either BioNTech or Moderna vaccines (the only ones using mRNA technology) during their pregnancy.

Post-vaccination rates of miscarriage, premature births and other complications the women reported were comparable to those noted in pregnant mothers before the Covid-19 pandemic, reports said.

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Meanwhile, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine on Tuesday also endorsed vaccination in pregnancy based on evidence it has been evaluating for more than a year. It said in a statement that the vaccines are safe and effective.

Their study included information on 35,691 pregnant US women who participated in a voluntary smartphone-based vaccination surveillance system and who BioNtech or Moderna vaccines between mid-December 2020 and late February.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

The study included reports on pregnancy complications from nearly 4,000 women enrolled in a US vaccine safety registry. Of these, 86% or 712 resulted in a live birth, mostly among those given the jab in the third trimester.

In the vaccine registry, about 13% of pregnant women reported miscarriages, less than 1% stillbirths, 9% premature births and 2% birth defects, all within the same range observed in reports in pregnant women before the pandemic.

A representative of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said the CDC report is promising but longer-term follow-up is needed.

Back in Hong Kong, the Department of Health has just announced the death from cardiac arrest of a 43-year-old man five days after getting a BioNTech jab.

The man, who was reported to be obese with a history of hyperlipidemia, received the vaccine at the Tsuen King Circuit community vaccination centre in Tsuen Wan on Apr  18. There was no record of him complaining of feeling unwell after the jab.

He had a sudden heart attack at home and was rushed to Yan Chai Hospital in Tsuen Wan, but efforts to resuscitate him failed.

The DH says that so far, there is no clinical evidence to show that his death was caused by the vaccine.


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