Health advice on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Pregnant Women

  • Prevention of Pneumonia & Respiratory Infection - Health advice for pregnant women
  • Should pregnant women be given COVID-19 vaccination?

    Pregnant women are at a higher risk of developing severe disease from COVID-19 infection, especially during the third trimester of pregnancy. Symptomatic COVID-19 disease also increases the risk of preterm birth by 2 to 3 fold. Pregnant women should receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Women who are planning pregnancy, in the immediate postpartum period, or breastfeeding can be vaccinated as well. For details, please visit the COVID-19 Thematic Website.

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  • FAQ
    1. Are pregnant women at higher risk from COVID-19?

      Due to the physiological changes in pregnancy, pregnant women infected with the COVID-19 may have more severe symptoms. Some recent data in foreign countries showed increased risk of severe illness compared to non-pregnant counterpart. Therefore, it is important to always maintain social distancing, hand hygiene and wear masks throughout pregnancy to prevent respiratory tract infection.

    2. Should pregnant women attend antenatal appointments regularly?

      Pregnant women need to have regular antenatal checkup during pregnancy. If they experience any discomfort or abnormalities, e.g. fever or respiratory symptoms, they should wear a surgical mask and seek medical attention as soon as possible. DO NOT visit obstetrics clinic and MCHC. They should call the relevant obstetrics clinic or MCHC for special arrangement.

    3. Could pregnant women pass Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to her baby?

      According to the limited evidence and ongoing research currently available, there is emerging evidence that the virus could be passed to the fetus in the mother's womb. The presence of the novel coronavirus in the amniotic fluid and the placenta have been confirmed in some cases in a recently published article. There is also a chance that the newborn may be infected through person-to-person transmission after birth. Therefore, it is important to always maintain social distancing and hand hygiene during postnatal period to prevent respiratory tract infection.

Lactating Women

  1. Can lactating women receive COVID-19 vaccines?

    COVID-19 vaccines are effective against COVID-19 related serious illness and death. Besides, the antibodies generated after COVID-19 vaccination in pregnant women can pass to the fetus via the umbilical cord, and women can also provide protection to the babies during breastfeeding.

    Women who are breastfeeding should be vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines, unless contraindicated due to underlying medical reasons. There is no need to stop breastfeeding while being vaccinated. Both the Comirnaty (BioNTech) and CoronaVac (Sinovac) vaccines are allowed for use on pregnant and lactating women in Hong Kong. According to the Hong Kong College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (HKCOG), based on the available published data, Comirnaty (BioNTech) is the the preferred choice of vaccine for pregnant and lactating women. For details, please visit the COVID-19 Thematic Website.

  2. Can mother breastfeed her child if she has suspected or confirmed COVID-19?

    Breastfeeding brings a lot of health benefits to mothers and babies, including optimal nutrition, antibodies and active cells which can boost child's immunity. The currently available limited research does not detect the COVID-19 virus in breastmilk, and there is insufficient evidence to show the transmission of virus through breastmilk. However, there is a chance of transmission via droplets or body contact during direct breastfeeding.

    If the mother is a confirmed case of COVID-19, or currently under medical surveillance, she can discuss with the healthcare professionals and family regarding whether or not to continue breastfeeding, such as taking into consideration of the medications prescribed. If mother wishes to continue breastfeeding, she should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant. When breastfeeding the baby, mother must wear a surgical mask and perform hand hygiene. If the mother is too unwell to breastfeed, she can express breastmilk for her family to feed the baby. Before mother expressing breastmilk or carer touching the baby, they must wash their hands and maintain good personal hygiene. If the mother is unable or wishes to suspend breastfeeding, she can give infant formula to her baby and continue to express milk regularly to avoid blocked duct and mastitis.

Parents

  • COVID-19 Vaccination for Children

    Vaccination protects children and adolescents against COVID-19 disease to effectively decrease the rates of serious illness and death. For details, please visit: www.covidvaccine.gov.hk

    Types of vaccines available for children
    Age CoronaVac (Sinovac) Comirnaty (BioNTech)
    Aged 3 to 4
    Aged 5 or above
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  • FAQ
    1. Some parents may worry about bringing children out due to the risk of infection during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Can parents delay their child's immunisation?
      • We do understand parents' worries and concern.  Yet, to protect the children's health, parents should ensure that immunisations must not be delayed because of the pandemic.  Parents should bring their children to receive immunisations according to the schedule of Hong Kong Childhood Immunisation Programme for protection against communicable diseases such as pertussis, streptococcal pneumonia, chickenpox and measles etc.
      • Maternal and Child Health Centres (MCHCs) have enhanced the infection control measures.  All clients visiting MCHCs must wear surgical masks, declare their travel history and any respiratory symptoms, and undergo temperature screening.
      • MCHCs have also streamlined the workflow and logistics to reduce the length of clients' stay in clinics.  To reduce client flow and social contact, we advise no more than 2 parents accompanying newborn babies aged 6 months or below to attend MCHCs, while no more than one parent / relative / friend is allowed for other service users.
    2. Since the immune system of newborn babies is immature, can parents delay the registration in MCHCs? 

      Given that the condition of newborn babies can change rapidly, we recommend parents to bring their newborn to MCHCs soon after discharge from hospital for registration and assessment so that important health problems e.g. neonatal jaundice and feeding (especially breastfed babies) can be identified early.

    3. Some children are unable to return to Hong Kong or parents prefer them not to return to Hong Kong due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  How can parents arrange immunisation for them?

      If the child is unable to return to Hong Kong, parents are advised to let the child continue the immunisation at the current place of residence. Parents must not delay the child's immunisation. Parents should keep all immunisation records and show them to staff when the child attends MCHC next time.

    4. Should babies wear masks when going out?

      Face mask (including surgical masks and cloth face coverings) is not recommended for children under the age of 2 years without supervision:

      • For newborns and young children under 2, there would be a chance of suffocation or other health risks if the face mask is not properly used.  In addition, young children like to touch or pull the mask on their face which can increase the chance of infection.
      • Parents are advised to let infants and young children stay at home as much as possible and avoid bringing them to unnecessary social gathering or playgrounds.  If there is a need to go out, choose less crowded places and remember to keep the social distance between children and other people, and avoid touching things around.
      • Carer should ensure their own hygiene before handling young children.  Keep your hands clean and wear mask when feeding your baby.
      • Parents can consider using a blanket or plastic rain shield to cover the baby pram to reduce the chance of droplets transmission.  However, parents should ensure that there is adequate ventilation inside the pram and protect the child from overheating.  Avoid leaving the baby in a covered baby pram for prolonged periods.  Children must be accompanied by parents while using hats with face shield.  When children wear hats with plastic face shields, take note of the product safety, ensure the size is appropriate and avoid blocking of the child's vision.   
    5. What should parents pay attention to when older children are using face masks (including surgical masks and cloth face coverings)?
      • Children should wear suitable child-size face masks.  Parents should teach them the proper ways of using masks patiently:wash hands before and after putting on / taking off a mask; make sure the mask fully covers the mouth, nose and chin; do not touch the mask after putting it on.  If surgical mask is used, dispose it after each use.
      • If your older child is unwilling to wear a mask, parents can encourage him by role-playing games.  Parents can also use vivid illustrations to explain the function of masks and how to put on one.
  • World Health Organization
    Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: 
    Healthy Parenting
  • HKPS Press Release Statement on how to manage children with COVID at home
  • Joint recommendations for parents when performing a rapid antigen test (RAT) to children at home by The Hong Kong Paediatric Society, The Hong Kong Society for Paediatric Immunology Allergy and Infectious Diseases, ChildSim, Hong Kong College of Paediatric Nursing and Hong Kong Paediatric Nurses Association

Women

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