BHOPAL: Faced with a dilemma whether beneficiaries of the state government’s vaccination drive on Friday were pregnant or non-pregnant, the health department officials ultimately decided to vaccinate all against Covid-19 while relying on the words of the women.
What posed an unexpected challenge to health department personnel at vaccination centres across the state during the vaccination drive to cover expectant mothers was to establish if a woman was pregnant or not.
Vaccinators or doctors had only the option to either go for a pregnancy test at the vaccination centres or trust what beneficiaries furnished information confirming their pregnancy.
Beneficiaries had not been asked to bring any confirmation certificate for pregnancy for vaccinations and even if they were told to do so, it was not possible for country pregnant women to bring confirmation certificates as they approach hospitals for consulting doctors after three to four months of pregnancy.
As per protocol of the health department, lady doctors were to conduct the first pregnancy test of the beneficiary and after the confirmation, she was to go for the Covid vaccination. However, since this practice was not followed- for whatever reasons- the medicos had no option but to show trust on the beneficiaries and go by their word. There are a lot of formalities including counseling before vaccination of pregnant women at centres so doctors hardly get time for on the spot pregnancy tests at vaccination centres.
Immunization officer Dr Upendra Dubey said, “ For the pregnant women, dedicated vaccination centers have been set up at hospitals instead of schools and other places as on the spot pregnancy tests are to be conducted. Beneficiaries have not been told to bring certificates regarding pregnancy confirmation.”
However, nodal immunization officer Dr Devendra Gaur said that at vaccination centres, doctors do not have much time for confirmation of pregnancy and to conduct their pregnancy test so the doctors are going by the information furnished by the women. There is no provision in guidelines for instructions to beneficiaries for confirmation of pregnancy.
Health department launched a mass campaign for vaccination for pregnant women in the state. When nodal and immunization officers asked how they would verify the pregnancy of beneficiaries, whether they (beneficiaries) will be bringing medical certificates regarding pregnancy. The health officials assured that lady doctors will be present at the center and the beneficiary would go through all kinds of tests including pregnancy before the vaccination. For this reason the vaccination centres for the pregnant women have been set up at only in hospitals.
The pregnant women had a tough time coming to the hospitals for the vaccination as the health department had not provided any transportation facility. The doctors said that as the families bring their pregnant women to hospital for medical check up, they can very well do the same for vaccinations.
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