‘Urgent need to inoculate pregnant women’ | Chennai News


CHENNAI: A rise in number of deaths among pregnant women and new mothers in the second wave is now worrying public health officials, although the state has kept the overall death rates in the Covid-19 almost stagnant. Senior doctors are now requesting the Union government to permit vaccination of pregnant women on a priority basis.
In the last two months, the state has reported at least 20 maternal deaths due to Covid-19. Between March and December last year, the directorate reported nine maternal deaths in the Covid registry. The percentage of women dying due to Covid increased from 28% in April to 31% on May 30. “We see an increase in death across ages in women. But pregnant women are at greater risk because they visit hospitals frequently and require medical intervention. They have a higher risk of infection,” said a senior doctor at the public health official.
Last week, the state reported the death of a 26 year-oldwoman from Tirunelveli, who was 34 weeks pregnant. She died on May 22 following covid pneumonia at a city hospital. She tested positive May 18. Another 29-year-old doctor from Tiruvannamalai, who was pregnant, died at a private hospital in Chennai. “Besides hospital acquired infections, families hold baby shower functions in the third trimester. This increases risk of infection among pregnant women,” said director of public health Dr T S Selvavinayagam. Senior gynaecologists including public health experts have now raised concerns over increasing cases and have made a strong case for vaccinating them on a priority basis. “As of now we are vaccinating new mothers, but the decision for vaccinating pregnant women has to be reviewed by the Centre,” the doctor said.
In the last two months, the case fatality rate has come down from around 1.3 to 1.1 since April, even though Tamil Nadu reports at least 450 deaths every day. While deaths continue to remain high among senior citizens and people with comorbid conditions, the number of healthy and young people dying due to the viral infection has been on the rise. Data from the directorate of public health show that on April 13, only 17% of 12,945 deaths were among people without comorbid conditions. On Sunday, the percentage of people without comorbid conditions among the deceased has now increased to 22% – 5,196 out of 23,754 deaths. “Many youngsters ignore symptoms, delay testing and treatment,” said Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital dean Dr Theranirajan. “When they come to the hospital breathless with low saturation levels and compromised lungs, outcomes are poor. In contrast, we have been able to help many people with severe infections when they come in early,” he said.

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