Wed, 04 Aug 2021

  • This after several pregnant teachers in the Western Cape indicated they will be declining the jab.
  • Pregnant woman are more at risk of developing severe Covid-19.

Pregnant teachers face more risk in contracting Covid-19 than they do in receiving a vaccination, according to health experts.

Several pregnant teachers expressed concerns to News24 about having the jab administered while pregnant, as a mass vaccination drive of teachers began on Wednesday.

On Saturday, Department of Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced the Covid-19 vaccine rollout for teachers would be between 23 June and 8 July.

However, experts said the vaccine could be administered to high-risk pregnant and breastfeeding women.

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One Cape Town school, which had at least four pregnant teachers, said none of them opted to take the jab in fear of the effects the vaccine might have on their unborn babies.

The co-lead investigator of South Africa's Sisonke programme, Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, said research was still under way into the effects of both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

"Many pregnant women have received the vaccines so far with no evidence of a safety signal in this regard.

"All the obstetric professional bodies, including the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organisation, have come out to say that risk of Covid-19 far outweighs [the risk of vaccination during pregnancy]," she added.

Western Cape education department head Brent Walters said on Wednesday he was aware of vaccine hesitancy among teachers.

"Our data base shows that around 20 to 25% of teachers are hesitant to take the vaccine, while 75% of teachers are willing to take the vaccine. Our goal is for us to achieve 100% of teachers to be vaccinated."

The SA Health Products Authority Regulator (Sahpra) said as far back as April that the Covid-19 jab could be administered to pregnant women who have a high risk of contracting the disease.

Similarly, breastfeeding women can also receive the vaccine, although the effects of it are unclear.

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The regulatory body said pregnant women might receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, in consultation with their healthcare providers, as part of the Sisonke programme and national vaccine rollout drive.

Sahpra added pregnant women had a higher risk of severe Covid-19 and the disease was associated with an increased risk of pre-term birth.

Source: News24

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