KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 — A total of 144 pregnant women have died of Covid-19 complications in Malaysia to date, said the Health Ministry.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin gave the latest update in a parliamentary reply yesterday to Kuala Krai MP Abdul Latiff Abdul Rahman, who asked for the number of Covid-19 fatalities involving pregnant women who were not vaccinated and side effects seen among those who have taken the vaccine.

Khairy said the data analysis revealed that all of the pregnant women who died have yet to complete their full Covid-19 vaccination.

“To date, a total of 152,026 pregnant women have received their Covid-19 vaccines.

“Between March and July 2021, a total of 5,636 pregnant women were confirmed positive for Covid-19 while the number of those who died due to Covid-19 up until September 14 is 144,” he said in the written reply posted on the Parliament website.

On Covid-19 vaccination during pregnancy, Khairy said the vaccines were effective and safe for use by pregnant women and did not cause increased risks to their foetusus as the side effects were similar to those who were not pregnant.

Khairy attributed this to a study published by The New England Journal of Medicine in June 2021 and the V-safe Covid-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry published by the United State’s Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

“The decision to administer vaccines to pregnant women in Malaysia came after an expert group under the Covid-19 Vaccine Supply Access Guarantee Special Committee (JKJAV) made such recommendations on its suitability, effectiveness and safety.

“Even though the recommendation is for Covid-19 vaccines to be administered after 12 weeks’ of pregnancy, pregnant women are not stopped from receiving them at any time throughout their pregnancy, after taking into account the risk and benefits.

“All vaccines under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme are safe and effective for this group of people,” he said, adding that the group was categorised as high-risk and given priority for inoculation.