BENGALURU: With reducing hesitancy among pregnant and lactating women in getting the Covid-19 vaccine, the inoculation drive in Bengaluru is going slow but steady. Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike plans to extend the drive from three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) to all days, besides setting up vaccination sites in all 20 maternity homes coming under the corporation.
Ever since the drive began on July 27, 3,701 pregnant women and 830 lactating women were vaccinated with one dose in Bengaluru, until September 14. These beneficiaries were vaccinated in 12 public health centres, including six referral hospitals, three urban primary health centres (UPHC), one community health centre, Vani Vilas Hospital and Gosha Hospital, with either Covaxin or Covishield.
The drive is more time-consuming with these women, as they have to undergo screening, counselling and a check-up. “We screen pregnant women for being high-risk patients, be it those with BP, sugar or other abnormalities. If they are at risk, vaccination is delayed by a few days. After screening, they are counselled about the vaccine and possible after-effects. This is followed by a gynaecological check-up, post which they are given the jab,” a BBMP health official said.
The process does not end here, with the vaccine beneficiary being monitored for the next 10 days. The vaccination site informs the field staff at UPHCs, who in turn inform ASHA workers and ANMs, who call or visit the women. The vaccination sites also follow up with the beneficiary. To ensure the process is done efficiently, the drive is currently on a smaller scale. When women come for antenatal checkups at government hospitals, awareness is created on getting the vaccine.
“In the first week, the drive was slow but now it has picked up. There is a set protocol in place and only those eligible are vaccinated. We don’t open the counter and wait. Instead, we reach out to the beneficiaries and bring them to maternity homes. There is less hesitancy now,” said D Randeep, Special Commissioner, Health, BBMP.
Vani Vilas Hospital, where 511 pregnant women and 124 lactating mothers have received the jab, it is observed that more women are coming forward to take the Covid vaccine now, said Dr Santosh D Prabha, resident medical officer. Almost 10 to 15 people come per day and even those admitted in hospital wards are coming forward, with staff nurses doing their part by counselling patients.