Director of Women’s Health at the Ministry of Health Dr Adesh Sirjusingh has said 744 pregnant women have been diagnosed with covid19 since the start of the pandemic in March of last year with the largest number of cases (161) being reported in September.
Sirjusingh was speaking at the Ministry of Health’s covid19 news conference on Monday.
He said for the month of October there have been 21 reported cases of the virus in pregnant women, and the healthcare system is recording higher numbers in recent months.
Sirjusingh said pregnancy continues to be a higher-risk condition in covid19 patients.
He cited new information emerging from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) which says in the US that more unvaccinated patients are being admitted to the high dependency unit (HDU).
He said data emerging from the UK is showing similar results.
“Across the world, the trend is that more and more pregnant women are occupying the HDU.”
He encouraged pregnant women and nursing mothers to get the available covid19 vaccines.
Sirjusingh said the Sinopharm vaccine was approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) at the end of June, and continues to be administered to breastfeeding women.
The Pfizer vaccine was also approved for pregnant women in their second trimester and above on August 25, and approved for breastfeeding women on September 8.
He said as of October 9, 714 pregnant women have received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and 374 have received the second.
“Over 300,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated worldwide,” he said, adding the vaccines are highly monitored to ensure safety. He said the vaccines protect pregnant women and their unborn babies through the development of antibodies after receiving the vaccine.
Sirjusingh said although the vaccines are not mandatory, it is highly recommended worldwide.
He also warned of a subset of pregnant women at an even higher risk. These women include women over 35, those in the second half of their pregnancy, overweight – over 176 pounds – women with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart conditions, and asthma.
There have been two maternal deaths from covid19 to date.