Tamil Nadu

Vaccination drive for pregnant women picks up pace in Tamil Nadu

Staying safe: Pregnant women getting the jab at the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Egmore recently.  

Vaccination of pregnant women against COVID-19 is slowly picking up pace across Tamil Nadu.

Last week, the Union Health Ministry announced that pregnant women were eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines. Following this, the Health Department started rolling out the vaccination programme for pregnant women across the State.

A health official said acceptance of vaccination among pregnant women was good, and they were launching the programme in many districts. “Awareness as well as interpersonal communication with pregnant women is important. It is important to vaccinate them. We ensure that there is informed consent, and they are monitored closely after vaccination,” he said.

At the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the Government Hospital for Women and Children in Egmore, nearly 250 pregnant women got the jab in the past three days, according to Director S. Vijaya.

“Many were initially hesitant to get vaccinated. So, we started to counsel them at the outpatient department, when they came for antenatal check-ups. We checked their vital parameters, including blood pressure. If they had not taken food, we ask them to eat and return. Post-vaccination, we observe them for half an hour. However, they stay longer on campus as they undergo other screenings,” she said.

She added that women pregnant with twins and triplets also got vaccinated. “We tell the women that vaccination will protect them from severe COVID-19,” she said.

Every day, around 10 to 15 pregnant women were being vaccinated at the Institute of Social Obstetrics and the Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children. “Now, there is awareness about vaccination among women. Counselling is also being provided. There were many maternal deaths due to COVID-19. Vaccination will offer them protection,” K. Kalaivani, Director of ISO and KGH, said.

“There have been a lot of inquiries in the last month. But the Government of India had not endorsed it then. With the direction coming in last week, we started to ready the logistics and launched the vaccination,” Jaishree Gajaraj, senior consultant, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, MGM Healthcare, said.

Vaccination, she pointed out, was extremely important for pregnant women. “In the second wave, we saw a lot of complications in pregnant women and lots of deaths due to COVID-19. Those who have recovered from COVID-19 still experienced symptoms such as breathlessness and generalised weakness,” she added.

One of the main concerns among pregnant women was if the vaccine would affect the baby.

“We have limited information. However, available evidence from other countries shows there has been no major impact on babies. The disease is much more fatal for pregnant women, and so vaccination is crucial,” Dr. Gajaraj said.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 12:38:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vaccination-drive-for-pregnant-women-picks-up-pace-in-tamil-nadu/article35244372.ece

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