Pregnant and postpartum women were more severely affected during the second wave of COVID-19 as compared to the first with symptomatic cases and the case fatality rate being significantly higher among this category this year, according to a study by ICMR.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said cases related to pregnant and postpartum women during the first wave (April 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021) and during the second wave (February 1 to May 14, 2021) of the pandemic in India were compared.
“Symptomatic cases were significantly higher at 28.7 per cent in the second wave (111/387), compared to the first wave (162/1143) when the proportion was 14.2 per cent,” ICMR said.
“The case fatality rate (CFR) among pregnant women and postpartum women was 5.7 per cent (22/387) during the second wave, which was significantly higher compared to the scenario encounter in the first wave with CFR 0.7 per cent (8/1143),” it said.
The total number of maternal deaths during both the waves of the pandemic was two per cent (30/1530), of which the majority (28/30) were due to COVID-19 pneumonia and respiratory failure.
“The study underlines the importance of vaccination of pregnant and lactating women against COVID-19,” the ICMR said.
The COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all lactating women in India.
However, the government has still not allowed vaccinating pregnant women citing a lack of clinical trial data and the matter is under discussion by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI).
WHO has recommended vaccinating pregnant women if they face a high risk of exposure to COVID and if they have co-morbid conditions.
(Edits by EP News Bureau)