A study undertaken by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has revealed that pregnant and postpartum women are among the 'severely' affected during the second COVID-19 wave in India compared to the first.
Case fatality rates (CFR) and symptomatic cases have been notably higher during the second phase of the pandemic (February 1, 2021 to May 14) when compared with the data from the first wave (April 1, 2020-January 31, 2021)
The ICMR, the country's top medical body monitoring the COVID situation, in its study compared cases involving pregnant and postpartum women during both phases of the outbreak.
The study revealed that symptomatic cases which stood at 28.7 per cent were substantially higher in the second wave. During the first phase, the proportion was 14.2 per cent, reported The New Indian Express.
The CFR in pregnant and postpartum women was as high as 5.7 percent in the second wave as compared to 0.7 percent in the first wave.
Maternal deaths during the first wave and second wave amounted to 2 percent. The majority of the fatalities were reportedly caused due to COVID pneumonia and respiratory failure.
The ICMR study was conducted on 1,530 pregnant and postpartum women, 1,143 from the first wave and 387 from the second wave.
Vaccination For Pregnant And Lactating Women
ICMR mentioned that this study underlines the importance of vaccinating pregnant and lactating women to prevent COVID-19 and has recommended they be inoculated.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended vaccinating pregnant women if they have comorbidities or are at high risk of exposure to the virus.
The central government, however, has not allowed these women to be vaccinated yet, referring to the lack of clinical trial data. The issue is presently under discussion in the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI).
Gynaecologists across the country have been urging the government to vaccinate pregnant women citing reasons of decreased immunity which puts them at risk.
"By vaccinating pregnant women, we not only protect pregnant women and child, but also all the people they come in contact with. Apart from this, the recent wave has shown us that pregnant women are getting severely affected. Morbidity and mortality seem to be much higher than what we had anticipated. Hence, it is always a wise option to consider vaccinating pregnant women," said Archana Dhawan Bajaj, a Delhi-based gynaecologist told LiveMint.
Also read- COVID Brings Tsunami Of Problems For Himalayan Villages