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Vaccination advised for pregnant, breastfeeding moms

KINGSTON, Jamaica. Tuesday, August 17, 2021. The Ministry of Health & Wellness is advising pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

This is in line with recommendations from the World Health Organisation and having regard to evidence which suggests that pregnant women with COVID-19 are at higher risk of developing severe illness compared to non-pregnant women of reproductive age.

Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalisation, intensive care, a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or illness that results in death.

COVID-19 in pregnancy has also been associated with an increased risk of preterm birth and of newborns requiring neonatal intensive care. Pregnant women who are 35 years and older or have high body mass index or an existing comorbidity, such as diabetes or hypertension, are at particular risk of serious outcomes from COVID-19.

Pregnant women who are vaccinated against COVID-19, as other members of the population, can experience common side effects. Those side effects, which are mild and temporary, include swelling, tenderness and pain at the injection site; fatigue; chills, fever, headache, and nausea.

To help pregnant women determine if they should or should not be vaccinated, they will be provided with information about the risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy, the likely benefits of vaccination and the current limitations of safety data by their health care provider.

To become vaccinated, members of the public are encouraged to make their appointments online at https://www.moh.gov.jm or call the Vaccination Call Centre at 888-ONE-LOVE (888-663-5683).

Once persons have received their appointment confirmation, they are to visit their vaccination site on time and with their TRN and government-issued identification or letter from a Justice of the Peace.

There are no appointment requirements for mobile vaccination sites, which are also being run islandwide. However, persons should turn up with their government-issued identification.

Members of the public are encouraged to stay vigilant in their practice of infection prevention and control measures, notably, mask wearing, maintaining a physical distancing from others and frequently washing and/or sanitising hands.