4 pregnant women, new mothers died from COVID this year
There have been four maternal deaths recorded this year after the women were infected with COVID-19. This stark occurrence, coupled with the increase in COVID-19 infections in pregnant women and new mothers, has prompted a more focused rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines among these women.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Narine Singh told the News Room that pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are being encouraged to take the COVID-19 vaccines because there is “new evidence” to support that the vaccines are safe for them.
Beyond just the new research, however, the CMO highlighted that that for the year so far, there have been four maternal deaths and many more women admitted to the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after they were infected with the novel coronavirus and began experiencing the more severe symptoms of COVID-19.
According to Dr. Singh, becoming vaccinated will help to protect these women. And so, the decision has been made to roll out a more focused COVID-19 vaccination campaign on these women. Importantly, too, with this greater focus on encouraging them to get vaccinated, the vaccine exemptions for pregnant and breastfeeding women have been removed.
On Thursday morning, at the maternity ward of the Georgetown Public Hospital, health officials engaged a number of pregnant women on the benefits of getting vaccinated. There, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony assured the women that the vaccines were safe for their use, based on scientific research done abroad.
Based on the vaccine preference recorded in a survey, the rollout of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been extended to women who are pregnant and breastfeeding. While at the maternity ward, a vaccination drive was held, however, there was a slow uptake of vaccines, with only one pregnant woman initially taking the vaccine.
Later, during his COVID-19 update, Dr. Anthony said, “We have been encouraging women to get vaccinated but earlier in the year, I think there was a lot of skepticism towards getting the vaccine if you are pregnant.”
This skepticism includes myths that babies would be born with abnormalities or deformities if their mothers are vaccinated during pregnancy. But Dr. Anthony said that is not the case.
While speaking to the women on Thursday, Director of Primary Health Care Services at the Ministry of Health Dr Ertenisa Hamilton also told them that some pregnant women have already been vaccinated and after their babies were delivered, there were no abnormalities detected.