Hawke’s Bay doctors and midwives warn pregnant people of misinformation

Hawke’s Bay DHB doctors and midwives say they are aware of misinformation circulating in Hawke’s Bay about miscarriage, stillbirth and early neonatal death being linked to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Paediatrician and Medical Director for Whānau and Communities, Dr Philip Moore said not only are the claims unfounded, but they are putting pregnant women at risk.

“Every miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death is a tragedy for the family involved. To use these tragedies to push an anti-vaccination agenda and to reduce confidence in vaccine safety is a despicable act,” Dr Moore said.

Dr Moore said there had been no related links to the vaccine and miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal deaths reported by Medsafe (New Zealand’s medicines and safety authority) and none in Hawke’s Bay.

“The Pfizer vaccine does not contain a live virus or any ingredients that are harmful to pregnant people or their baby, and the vaccine is recommended at any stage of pregnancy,” Dr Moore said.

Dr Moore’s concerns are echoed by Dr Kirsten Gaerty, the DHB’s Head of Department for Obstetrics who encouraged pregnant women to get vaccinated as they can become very sick if they get COVID-19.

“In the United Kingdom one in five people severely unwell with COVID-19 are unvaccinated pregnant women,” Dr Gaerty said.

“Research shows that if you’re not vaccinated and you are pregnant and catch COVID-19 you are more likely to be admitted to a hospital’s intensive care unit. There is also an increased risk of preterm birth and stillbirth for women that have COVID-19 when they are pregnant.”

“The vaccine protects you and your baby,” she said. “You’re far less likely to fall seriously ill and there is evidence that babies can get antibodies through the placenta that help protect them from COVID-19.”

Catherine Overfield, Interim Director of Midwifery for the DHB said its important pregnant women receive good evidence-based information and advice about the vaccine when making their decision about whether to get vaccinated.

“We encourage any pregnant person with questions or concerns around the COVID-19 vaccine to speak with their lead maternity carer in the first instance.  While all our midwives are vaccinated in accordance with the Vaccination Order, we will continue to provide high quality care to all māma, their pēpi and whānau regardless of their vaccination status.”

COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy is supported by health authorities, including the Royal Australian and NZ College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, The Immunisation Advisory Centre and New Zealand College of Midwives.

For further trusted information visit the following websites:

COVID-19 vaccine: Pregnancy and breastfeeding | Ministry of Health NZ

Unite against COVID-19

Karawhiua - Protect Communities from COVID-19

New Zealand College of Midwives

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Home | The Immunisation Advisory Centre (immune.org.nz)



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