State launches Covid vaccines for pregnant woman drive

| | Bhopal
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State launches Covid vaccines for pregnant woman drive

Friday, 19 November 2021 | Staff Reporter | Bhopal

Amidst widespread hesitancy, misinformation, and mistrust on several facets of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, Madhya Pradesh initiated the vaccination of pregnant women on July 23, 2021, following NTAGI's recommendation that pregnant women should be included in COVID-19 vaccination (National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization in India presentation shared with the states) campaign.

Before the launch, the Honorable Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, urged all sections of society to avail COVID-19 vaccination services for pregnant women with the same enthusiasm as they have done during the COVID-19 vaccination drive for the adult population. He encouraged citizens to come forward to participate in this critical campaign to save the lives of not only pregnant women but also their children.

By October 2021, Madhya Pradesh became the state with the highest vaccination for pregnant women. As of 16th Nov, the state has administered the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to more than 3.30 lakh pregnant women which accounts for approximately 24 percent of the total pregnant women vaccinated across the country. This feat has been achieved due to a series of targeted interventions, which were part of Madhya Pradesh's Jan Bhaagidari approach and outreach model. The first step taken was to address critical questions pertaining to the safety and efficacy of vaccines, and disseminating this information in as simple, effective, and comprehensive manner as possible. Communication plans were devised and implemented through a series of visually appealing information, education, and communication collaterals.

It has often been observed that the decision to vaccinate is not taken by the woman alone. The couple and in most cases, the entire family, is involved in the decision-making process. Hence, national guidelines for the vaccination of pregnant women were widely circulated as part of a mass education campaign, through various social media platforms.

Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs), Staff Nurses and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) were trained in counseling and communicating. The risks of COVID-19 on the health and pregnancy outcomes, benefits associated with the COVID-19 vaccine as well as potential side effects and rare complications associated with vaccines. Antenatal check-ups that involve visits by expecting mothers to the health facility, outreach immunization sessions, Village / Urban Health, Sanitation and Nutrition Days (VHSNDsand UHSNDs) and COVID-19 vaccination centers are set up as the primary touch points to communicate vaccination related messages to the beneficiaries.

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