According to the World Health Organisation, pregnant women do not seem to be at higher risk of getting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19 but studies point at an increased risk of developing severe Covid-19 if the pregnant women are infected. This has been associated with an increased likelihood of preterm birth and has whipped up a series of question with the most common one being, “Should pregnant and lactating women be vaccinated against Covid-19?”
The United Nations Children’s Fund highlights that though children are not the face of Covid-19 pandemic, they risk being among its biggest victims since their lives are being changed in profound ways amid this universal crisis hence, for some children, the impact will be lifelong. Since the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic saw many cases of children getting infected from the deadly virus, question on “Will the third wave of coronavirus be more challenging for kids?” has been doing the rounds for quite some time.
Should pregnant and lactating women be vaccinated against Covid-19?
Dr Preeti Goyal, Medical Director at vHealth by Aetna, shares, “As per the various professional bodies like ACOG and WHO, Covid vaccination is allowed and in fact advocated for pregnant and lactating women at any stage of their pregnancy or lactation. It should however be taken under the guidance of a physician, checking for other contraindications and any special needs. Vaccinating the woman in fact, transfers some benefits to the newborn and is promoted by the Pediatric professional bodies too.”
Vidhi Dhingra, Senior Clinical Dietician, echoed the same and said, “Yes, it is advisable by WHO to go for Covid vaccination if you are pregnant or lactating. Pregnant ladies experience a mix of emotions and adjustments to their life which can get particularly aggravated during Covid-19 restrictions. It is important to take the vaccination to reduce the fear of contracting an infection and relinquish at least one concern off the list, albeit with continued Covid appropriate precautions.”
She adds, “I also advise pregnant or lactating women to do mindful eating, not triggered by emotions. While vaccination will help build Covid immunity both for the mother and child, a balanced diet with small and frequent meals is equally important to make sure all the nutrients a mother and baby need are provided for overall wellbeing.”
Will the third wave of coronavirus be more challenging for kids?
As per Dr Preeti Goyal, “The third wave of Covid will affect adults and kids alike and the myth around children being affected in higher numbers or to greater degree of severity is not based on any scientific evidence. Children naturally are less likely to develop severe illness due to Covid than adults.”
However, she cautioned, “Severe/serious illness does occur in children and all precautions to protect the kids from infection should be taken. Vaccination for kids in certain age groups has started in India and should be promoted. This is likely to be extended to younger ages in the coming months, providing greater protection to our kids.”
Sharing her inputs on the same, Dr Ashna Gupta, Senior Clinical Psychologist revealed, “In this pandemic, the mental health of children has become a serious concern due to various reasons including online classes, social isolation, prolonged screen time and in some cases parental fatigue. With the surge of recent variants, it can be assumed that the children will continue to struggle with pandemic induced challenges but the impact of the third wave will be quite similar to the first two waves.”