Lukewarm response as Ghaziabad starts with Covid vaccination of pregnant women
More than two weeks after the Centre allowed pregnant women to get vaccinated against Covid-19, Ghaziabad on Monday started the inoculation process for such beneficiaries. However, several government-run vaccination centres witnessed a lukewarm response from would-be mothers for the drive, officials said.
On July 2, the Union ministry of health and family welfare extended the vaccination drive against Covid-19 to pregnant women. The health ministry said that pregnant women can register on the Co-WIN portal or walk-in to the nearest vaccination centres for Covid-19 shots.
The officials of the Ghaziabad health department said that the vaccination for this group was started after guidelines were received recently from the state government. At present, the district has about 100,000 pregnant women, they said.
“After directions were received from the state health department, we started with vaccination of pregnant women at the 54 centres across the district. The centres have been directed that such women should be provided vaccine on priority and should not be made to stand in queues. Pregnant women can get vaccination by booking online slots or even by way of walk-in,” said Dr GP Mathuria, nodal officer for Covid vaccination in Ghaziabad.
Several government hospitals on Monday did not get a good response for the drive.
“We started with the arrangement for pregnant women, but no such beneficiaries turned up for getting vaccinated. We feel that with more awareness, the pace will pick up in coming weeks,” said Dr Sanjay Teotia, chief medical superintendent (CMS) of Sanjay Nagar Combined District Hospital.
There were no such beneficiaries either at the other centre at the District Women Hospital. “No pregnant woman arrived for vaccination on Monday. But we have started receiving queries from women about vaccination during pregnancy,” said Dr Sangita Goel, CMS of the hospital.
However, at Gandhi Ideal School at Rakesh Marg in Nehru Nagar, the centre in-charge said that six pregnant women turned up for vaccination. “On Monday, we had six such beneficiaries. There were no adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) reported in any such case so far,” said Dr Pawan Kumari, in-charge of the Covid vaccination centre.
When asked about the poor response, Ghaziabad chief medical officer, Dr Bhavtosh Shankhdhar, said, “We have antenatal care centres in both rural and urban areas where pregnant women visit for normal immunisation. We will ask these centres to properly guide the pregnant women and encourage them to get vaccinated. We expect that pace of vaccination for this group will pick up in the coming days.”
The officials said the count for vaccination of pregnant women could not be ascertained as there was no separate indicator on Co-WIN portal.
Meanwhile, experts said that pregnancy is not a contraindication for Covid-19 vaccination. “We feel that by vaccinating the pregnant women, we are in fact securing two lives. The district administration should spread more awareness. On our part, we will soon be starting with online doubt-clearing sessions with experts. Besides, we will put up posters at hospitals, nursing homes and clinics indicating that vaccination is safe for pregnant women,” said Dr Ashish Agarwal, president of Indian Medical Association (Ghaziabad).