Vaccination campaign commences for pregnant, breastfeeding women
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IN an effort to reduce the number of positive COVID-19 infections among pregnant and breastfeeding women, the Ministry of Health has rolled out a targeted vaccination campaign.

During Thursday’s COVID-19 update, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony said that while the ministry has been offering the AstraZeneca, Sinopharm or Sputnik V vaccines to women in this category, a recent survey has indicated that many of them would prefer to take the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.

“In terms of pregnant women, they have to be enrolled at one of our clinics so we can verify the pregnancy, and that would be done at any one of the clinics,” Dr. Anthony explained.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony speaking with pregnant women at GPHC, as Chief Medical Officer Dr. Narine Singh looks on

Verification of breastfeeding, he said, will be verified at the level of the local clinics.
Earlier this year, there was a lot of skepticism surrounding pregnant and breastfeeding women taking a COVID-19 vaccine, as there was limited scientific data on the subject. However, recent studies have shown that the vaccines are safe for those women to take.

“Most of the obstetric societies, globally, have been encouraging pregnant women to get vaccinated in any one of the trimesters, whether first, second or third, because the vaccine is safe, and it is protective,” the health minister said.

Dr. Anthony said there has been a significant number of pregnant women that have become infected with the disease. As such, he is encouraging breastfeeding and pregnant women in Guyana to visit any one of the vaccination sites to take their ‘jabs’, and safeguard themselves from the potentially deadly virus.

“We have seen a number of cases of persons who are pregnant coming in with COVID-19. We have seen that at the Oceanview hospital; we have seen that here at the Georgetown Hospital, and at several of our other regional hospitals, and all of these women are unvaccinated,” Minister Anthony related.

He said, too, that fortunately, the majority of these woman have had a “milder form of the disease”, while some others go on to have a very severe presentation of the disease. In a few cases, Dr. Anthony said that the virus forced doctors to conduct emergency caesarean sections. “This can be avoided, if women take the vaccine during their pregnancy,” he emphasised.

An expectant mother and her doctor discussing her taking the vaccine

To educate women on the importance of the vaccines, doctors will be conducting sensitisation exercises at various health centres across the country.

During an official launch of the campaign on Thursday at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation’s maternal unit, Dr. Anthony, along with several other doctors, including the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Narine Singh, briefed pregnant women on the safety and importance of the vaccine.

(Modified from DPI)

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