India has reported over 44,230 new coronavirus cases in last 24 hours with 549 deaths. Active caseload is stands at 4,05,155, comprising 1.28% of total cases. India has cumulatively administered nearly 46 crores covid-19 vaccine doses.
NEW DELHI: Since the nationwide immunization drive was launched on 16 January, over 227,000 pregnant women in India have received their first dose of a covid-19 vaccine, the government said on Friday.
Tamil Nadu leads the way with 78,838 jabs, followed by Andhra Pradesh (34,228), Odisha (29,821), Madhya Pradesh (21,842), Kerala (18,423) and Karnataka (16,673), the union health ministry data showed.
“This can be seen as a result of regular counselling of pregnant women by health workers and medical officers about the risks of covid-19 infection to pregnant women and benefits of vaccination. This sustained campaign has empowered pregnant women to make informed choice on taking covid vaccines," the ministry said.
To allay fears, apprehension, misinformation and social taboos, on 2 July, the ministry had issued guidelines to help states and Union territories operationalize the covid vaccination programme for pregnant women. “This was followed up by training of programme managers, service providers and frontline health workers to equip them to counsel pregnant women and their family during antenatal care about the importance of vaccination during pregnancy. The states and UTs further sensitized their vaccination teams in the government and private covid-19 vaccination centres regarding vaccination for the pregnant women," it added.
Several initiatives have been taken by states to encourage pregnant women to take the vaccine. Special vaccination and counselling sessions were organized for the eligible beneficiaries at antenatal clinics, and by ASHA workers, besides adopting innovative ways to encourage them. For instance, certificates, issued by deputy commissioners, to those pregnant and lactating women who were the first to get themselves vaccinated resulted in building confidence and acceptance in the community, the government said.
Studies showed covid infection during pregnancy may result in rapid deterioration in health of women, escalating the risk of severe disease, which could also affect the foetus. Pregnant women diagnosed with covid are at higher risk for adverse outcomes, including preterm birth and neonatal morbidity. Besides, experts have said pre-existing co-morbidities, advanced maternal age and high body mass index are factors for severe covid-19 in pregnancy.