Panchkula Health Department fails to eliminate vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women

Of 10K expectant mothers in Panchkula district, only 414 turn up in first 2 weeks

Panchkula Health Department fails to eliminate vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women

A pregnant woman being vaccinated at the Civil Hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula. FILE PHOTO

Amit Bathla

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 25

The local Health Department has failed to eliminate Covid vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women since the programme opened up for them on July 12. In the first two weeks, only 414 expectant mothers have been given the first dose – at an average of just 29 per day.

Moreover, it doesn’t look like the local health authorities have any concrete plan to improve the situation.

Saying that husbands and in-laws mainly take decisions for pregnant women, senior officials of the Health Department said they could not do much in mobilising them for vaccination.

The officials said they were hopeful that vaccine hesitancy among pregnant women would eventually fade away and the pace of vaccination for this group would pick up in the coming days.

On a single day, a maximum of 93 pregnant women have got the vaccine dose. The worst single-day figure was 11 on the inauguration day.

On three odd days (July 18, 19 and 25), the vaccination drive for pregnant women remained suspended in the district.

District Immunisation Officer Dr Meenu Sasan agreed that response from pregnant women for Covid vaccination had been lukewarm so far. However, she claimed that it would improve slowly.

She said though instructions had been issued to staff at the PHC/CHC level to prioritise vaccine for pregnant women, not many were coming forward to take the jab.

She said there was a huge gap between those who are counselled and those who actually receive dose.

“Even if there is a shortage of doses for other categories, it won’t impact the drive for pregnant women,” Dr Sasan, adding that they had reserved the doses for women.

She appealed to all pregnant women to get themselves vaccinated for their own safety as well as that of their unborn child.

According to the Health Department, there are roughly 10,000 pregnant women in the district.

Response will improve slowly: Official

District Immunisation Officer Meenu Sasan agreed that response from pregnant women for Covid vaccination had been lukewarm so far. However, she claimed that it would improve slowly. She said though instructions had been issued to staff at the PHC/CHC level to prioritise vaccine for pregnant women, not many were coming forward to take the jab.

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