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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Vaccinate pregnant women, more of them turning Covid positive, say gynaecologists

So far, the government has allowed vaccination among lactating women and there is data from the United States and other countries that vaccination is quite safe.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
May 25, 2021 9:21:26 pm
coronavirus, coronavirus impact on pregnant women, covid worry for pregnant women, coronavirus effect pregnant womenRepresentational image

Gynaecologists have raised concerns over Covid-19 cases among pregnant women in Pune and have made a strong case for vaccinating them on a priority basis.

Dr Sanjay Gupte, former president of Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society of India and city-based obstetrician, said vaccination among pregnant women should be of top priority.

So far, the government has allowed vaccination among lactating women and there is data from the United States and other countries that vaccination is quite safe.

Dr Gupte said it was not possible to conduct long clinical trials related to vaccination among this group. “Vaccination is allowed in the US and they have data of at least 90,000 pregnant women who had no problems after inoculation. Australia and the UK also allowed vaccination among pregnant women,” Gupte said. “The second wave of Covid-19 infections has been terrible and pregnant women have been exposed as entire families were infected with this virus. There are chances of increase in severity of infection. So, there is a need to prioritise this group for vaccination,” Gupte added.

Covid infection was not severe in the first wave among pregnant women last year, said Dr Parag Biniwale, member of FOGSI and president-elect of Poona Obstetric and Gynaecologists Society. While lactating women are allowed to undertake vaccination – it is worth giving to pregnant women, he said. Biniwale, who is attached to three different hospitals, said there has been an increase in Covid cases in pregnant women this year.

“Covid in pregnancy is not good. Pregnancy is also an immuno-compromised condition and the government must seriously consider opening up vaccination for this high risk group,” said Dr Sunita Tandulwadkar, president of Poona Obstetric and Gynaecologists Society.

“This time, cases have spread faster in the general population and pregnant women have been infected. We have seen more cases during this second wave,” she added. “Last week, we had to deal with three missed abortions and had to drop the embryo transfer in the women who had conceived via in-vitro fertilization method,” she said.

There are also several couples who want to plan a pregnancy but are not getting access to vaccine doses, Tandulwadkar said. “There are various unanswered questions as the woman may have got the first dose of the vaccine and subsequently became pregnant. But she is now unsure of the second dose,” she said.

Dr Aarti Kinikar, chairperson of the Pune paediatric Covid task force, said earlier there were three to four pregnant women with Covid-19 but since Sassoon General Hospital is a tertiary care hospital, they have reported more cases of pregnant women with Covid-19. “It is very important that pregnant women are administered the vaccine so they can take care of themselves,” she said.

Dr Vandana Khanijo, head of the Department of Gynaecology at Jehangir Hospital, said they have started observing more Covid cases in pregnant women and are keenly awaiting government guidelines to allow vaccination for this group. Jehangir Hospital has reported approximately 84 Covid positive cases of pregnant women, authorities said.

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According to Dr Amita Phadnis, managing director, Oyster and Pearl Hospitals, they had reported at least 20 Covid positive pregnant women of which three were critical. “The government has allowed vaccination for lactating women but they must take up the FOGSI recommendation for vaccinating pregnant women, too,” Phadnis said.

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