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‘Hesitancy among pregnant and breastfeeding women to vaccinate could trigger a spike in Covid-19 cases’

The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has raised concern that unvaccinated pregnant and breastfeeding women across the continent may lead to a rise in the number of Covid-19 deaths.

This came out in a recent African Union report which was issued through Africa CDC seeking to demystify the notion that Covid-19 vaccines are unsafe for people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.

The report quoted the Director of Africa CDC, Dr John Nkengasong, emphasising the need to ignore such myths as they have been part of the vaccination process even before the outbreak of Covid-19.

“The African population must shun away from the misleading information and myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines. One of the biggest challenges facing the health sector and officials is false and misleading claims about the covid-19 vaccine, including expecting mothers, from getting vaccinated, which may result in an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths on the continent,” said Dr Nkengasong.

“It should be noted that safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines are the most critical and game-changing tool to fight against the pandemic in the region. Africa CDC is at the centre of Africa’s COVID-19 vaccine acquisition and distribution through the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) and hopes to fully vaccinate 60% of the African population by the end of next year, 2022.”

The report outlined that the Covid-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.

“Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a Covid-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy,” read the report.

“There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including Covid-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with Covid-19 compared with non-pregnant people. Getting a Covid-19 vaccine can protect you from a severe illness and/ or death.”

It further highlighted that some countries are making commendable progress in terms of advancing the population that is fully vaccinated as Morocco now 53% of its population fully vaccinated, South Africa is at 16%, Egypt 6%, Algeria at 9%, while Tunisia has 26%.

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