Vaccination of pregnant women begins in Tiruchi district

Move follows Centre’s directive; primary health centres to have doses solely for expectant mothers

The Tiruchi district administration has begun inoculation of pregnant women following a directive from the Centre allowing them to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

All primary health centres will have some doses of the vaccine solely for pregnant women and post natal mothers.

According to the instructions from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, pregnancy does not increase the risk of COVID-19 infection, but current evidence indicates that pregnant women are at an increased risk of contracting severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant women in case they get infected.

Preganant women can get the shot at any time during their pregnancy as no specific period has been indicated.

Keeping in mind the instructions, health officials in the district have drawn up a plan to provide a stock of vaccine doses to primary health centres to inoculate only new mothers and pregnant women.

Tiruchi district records 3,000 births in a month. So, taking into account pregnancies over the last nine months, at least 25,000 women are to be inoculated, a senior health official told The Hindu.

“Primary health centres have dedicated Tuesdays to monitoring pregnant women. When they come for their regular check-up, we also give them awareness of the COVID-19 vaccine and the importance of taking it,” a staff nurse at a primary health centre said.

Vaccine hesitancy?

Similarly, Village Health Nurses, who conduct door-to-door check-ups, and field-level awareness programmes have also been given the task of encouraging pregnant women to take the jab.

While there is some hesitancy, the women are not averse to the vaccine, the staff nurse said.

“They worry about the health of their child, but once you tell them the benefits, they are convinced. We have a staff member here who is pregnant and has taken the vaccine. Talking to her also alleviates some concerns,” she added.

Pregnant women and postnatal mothers can approach their nearest primary health centre to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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