Only 10 pregnant women turned up to take the Covid-19 jabs on Thursday, the first day of vaccination rollout for them in Mumbai. While eight were administered the dose in public centres, two received the shots in private centres.
Medical experts and civic officials said the lukewarm response was due to low awareness among pregnant women, and that gynaecologists should take the lead in disseminating information about risks and benefits.
In Mumbai, gynaecology departments of both public and private hospitals have already started spreading awareness among pregnant women registered under them. “We have trained healthcare workers in spreading awareness,” said a civic official.
Eight pregnant women had already taken the jab in private centres before the drive was rolled out in the city on Thursday, taking the total number of vaccinated pregnant women to 18.
On July 2, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare approved Covid-19 vaccination for pregnant women, underlining that the benefits of vaccination outweigh their potential risks. The centre’s guidelines say that pregnant women can take the jab at any point during the pregnancy. A guidance document released by the centre said that pregnant women who develop Covid-19 are more likely to require intensive care than their non-pregnant counterparts, and the infection during pregnancy may result in rapid deterioration of their health and might affect the foetus. These threats prompted medical experts to demand vaccination for pregnant women.
The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) was instrumental in pushing the centre to rollout vaccines for pregnant women as well as lactating mothers. Vaccination for lactating women started in May. Since then, 3,646 lactating mothers have been vaccinated in the city.