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Now pregnant women in Jharkhand to be vaccinated

Special training to frontline workers for jab session to expecting mother 

Ranchi, July 3: Pregnant women in the state are now eligible for Covid-19 vaccination.

Jharkhand after getting directive from the Union health ministry is preparing to let pregnant women register on CoWin. The government will impart special training to frontline workers, vaccinators and others involved to counsel recipents about the benefits and  potential risks of the vaccine, health officials said on Saturday.

Besides, the state will also hold orientation of members from professional bodies such as the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Society of India (FOGSI), the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (IAP) and others so that information related to vaccination of pregnant women can be passed on to others.

 “Programme staff members working at PHCs (Primary Healthcare Centres), CHCs (Community Healthcare Centres) and even in private clinics will be trained for counselling pregnant women so that the beneficiaries can take an informed decision of getting vaccinated,”said a source in the state health department.

The Union health ministry has allowed vaccination for pregnant women, claiming that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks. The decision was taken following recommendation of the National Technical Advisory Group for Immunisation (NTAGI). However, the ministry has also issued detailed guidelines related to vaccination of expecting mothers, and warned of rare yet severe side effects within 20 days of vaccination.

The health ministry has not specified any additional precautions to be taken during vaccination of pregnant women who were also suffering from anaemia, malnutrition or had a low body mass index (BMI), sources in the state health department said. In Jharkhand, several rural women suffer from anaemia and other nutritional deficiencies, and the effect of vaccination on such pregnant women is not clear.

While most pregnant women might respond well to the vaccine and show only minor side effects like mild fever and body ache, some vaccinated women may experience shortness of breath, chest pain, persistent vomiting or seizures. Such side effects may need immediate medical attention, officials said.

Frontline workers and vaccinators will also be imparted special training to help prospective beneficiaries get their slots using the Co-Win platform and guide them through the process in case they opt for walk-in vaccination, officials said.

Since around 75 per cent of the state’s population lives in rural areas, teams of frontline workers would visit homes of pregnant women and counsel them about the importance and side effects of vaccination against Covid-19.

As per Union health ministry guidelines, obstetriciand, paediatricians and neonatologists should be made part of district teams for monitoring adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) for proper investigation and reportage of side effects in vaccinated pregnant women.

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