There has been a reported increase of unvaccinated, pregnant and COVID positive women hospitalised here in Singapore.
According to local obstetricians and gynaecologists on Saturday (16 October), more and more expecting mums are being admitted with the deadly virus. The experts also raised an alarm for the urgency with which pregnant women must get their jabs to prevent further risks from the virus.
As you know, expecting women who have not been vaccinated are more at risk of severe complications once infected with COVID-19.
More Unvaccinated, Pregnant And COVID Positive Women Hospitalised In Singapore
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In a free webinar organised by the College of Clinician Scientists under the Academy of Medicine Singapore, doctors discussed COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy.
The topic of pregnant and COVID positive women was brought up as the number of pregnant patients are rapidly rising.
“Just a couple of days ago, we received a message from the ministry that there were about 20 pregnant patients who are Covid-19 positive… Unfortunately, among those, only one or two were fully vaccinated,” said Associate Professor Tan Lay Kok, head of the department of maternal and foetal medicine at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) as per The Straits Times.
“We have seen an increasing number of pregnant women coming to us almost on a daily basis,” added Associate Professor Zubair Amin, head and senior consultant at the neonatology department in the Khoo Teck Puat – National University Children’s Medical Institute at the National University Hospital (NUH).
Professor Tan Hak Koon, chairman of the obstetrics and gynaecology division at KKH who did not take part in the webinar, also stated that the hospital saw more than 40 cases of pregnant women infected with COVID-19.
This was from May to September 30, 2021 and is a significant rise as compared with the few cases during the same period last year.
In a recent Facebook post by Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on September 29, he mentioned that more than 85 per cent of pregnant women hospitalised with COVID-19 were not fully vaccinated.
“Of these women, about 20% experienced severe symptoms and required O2 supplementation, and another 10% required high dependency and ICU care,” he wrote.
So far, no vaccinated pregnant woman infected with COVID-19 has needed oxygen therapy or was sent to the ICU.
Pregnant Women Encouraged To Get Vaccinated
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Professor Tan added that KKH got to vaccinate more than 1,000 of its pregnant and breastfeeding patients as well as those planning to conceive from around mid-June to September 30.
“A higher uptake was observed from August to September. However, a large group of pregnant women remains unvaccinated,” he said according to ST.
Senior consultant Citra Mattar, from the NUH O&G department’s division of maternal foetal medicine who also moderated the webinar, said that 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the hospital’s pregnant patients have either been fully or partially vaccinated. This is with the take-up rate picking up since August.
He added, “Pregnant women who are more motivated, like front-line workers, came to get their vaccines first in June. On top of the current surge, social restrictions (targeting the unvaccinated) may have encouraged more to take the vaccine.”
Since June 4 of this year, pregnant and breastfeeding women have been permitted to register to receive their COVID-19 jabs under the national vaccination programme.
This was with the Ministry of Health (MOH) advising that they discuss the risks and benefits of the vaccine with their doctors for a more informed decision.
Higher Risk Of Complications During Pregnancy When Infected With COVID
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Unvaccinated, pregnant women are at higher risk of severe complications and problems when COVID positive. Such health complications during pregnancy when infected, especially at the later stages, include the following:
- Need for intensive care and mechanical ventilation
- Maternal death
- Compromised lungs
- Placenta rupture
Many women during the webinar asked at what stage of their pregnancy should they get vaccinated. Doctors urge them to get vaccinated as soon as possible, especially given the current situation and the rise of COVID-19 cases.
“Some women may choose to delay their vaccine until after the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, which is the crucial time period for the baby’s development. However, the question is, are we in a low-risk (community) situation right now?” Dr Ho Xin Yi, an associate consultant at KKH’s O&G department, brought up.
It was also emphasised by Dr Ho that there has been no evidence showing that the vaccines could harm a mother’s foetus or put the pregnancy at risk.
Source: The Straits Times
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