Health Ministry rolls out Covid-19 vaccination campaign for pregnant, breastfeeding women

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.

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

During Thursday’s COVID-19 update, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, MP stated that while the ministry has been offering the AstraZeneca, Sinopharm or Sputnik V vaccines to women in this category, a recent survey was done which 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. So that’s how we’ll verify that. In terms of how do we know who is breastfeeding, again, when you were discharged from your clinic, having been pregnant and delivered the baby, when you’re discharged from the hospital or the clinic, you will get a clinic card.

An expectant mother speaks with her doctor about taking the vaccine

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 issue. 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.”

Dr. Anthony said there has been a significant number of pregnant women who become infected with the disease.  As such, he is encouraging breastfeeding and pregnant women to visit any one of the vaccination sites to take their jabs, and save their lives.

“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.

“Some of them, luckily would have a milder form of the disease while others go on to have a very severe presentation of the disease and in a few cases, we had to do emergencies in C-sections. This can be avoided if women take the vaccine during their pregnancy.”

Samantha Singh receives her Pfizer vaccine

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

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Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. We urge citizens to practice good hygiene and social or physical distancing also adhere to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health, Guyana.