Sunday, November 28

Covid-19 vaccination rates in pregnant women ‘would really help’

The New Zealand College of Midwives (NZCM) wants the government to record Covid-19 vaccination rates among pregnant people.

Green MP Julie Anne Genter speaks during the 53rd Parliament's first day of session on December 1, 2020.

Julie Anne Genter, spokesperson for the Green Party for the response to Covid-19, who is vaccinated against Covid-19 and is 38 weeks pregnant, wants the vaccination rates of pregnant people to be recorded at the national level.
Photo: Hagen Hopkins / Getty Images

But the Health Ministry has not moved, citing “privacy reasons” to RNZ.

“It would really help us know where we should put our efforts the most,” said NZCM CEO Alison Eddy.

“We have stated that [with the Ministry of Health] but I think that with the speed and scale with which things and permanent systems happen, sometimes it’s not always easy to explain. “

His comments come after midwives leaked data to RNZ, showing that hundreds of pregnant people registered with maternity services in Te Tai Tokerau are not vaccinated, as the number of Delta cases increases in the region.

The latest figures circulated among Northland DHB staff, including senior managers, show that more than half (57 percent) of the 847 people in the region registered with maternity services had not received a single dose of Pfizer. at the end of last month.

In Kaitāia and Dargaville, it was two-thirds.

Overall, only a quarter received a double dose, despite being in Group 2, meaning they were eligible as of March.

The midwives wanted the figures to be made public after communications staff from the Northland District Board of Health and the Ministry of Health told RNZ they were unaware of vaccination rates among pregnant people because they did not collect the data. .

Green Party Covid-19 response spokesperson Julie Anne Genter, who is vaccinated against Covid-19 and is 38 weeks pregnant, wants the rates to be recorded nationally.

“I don’t understand why there is reluctance in public service because we know that pregnant women and their babies are at enormous risk,” he said.

“We really need a much more proactive approach.”

There are 30 active Delta cases in Te Tai Tokerau at this time; another six have recovered.

When asked if the region’s low vaccination rates among pregnant people were an accident that was about to happen, Genter said: “I would be extremely concerned if I were in Northland right now.”

“If I wasn’t already vaccinated, I would want to get vaccinated.”

University of Auckland professor of obstetrics and gynecology Michelle Wise said the number of vaccinated pregnant people was needed to plan hospitalizations and vaccination campaigns.

Obstetrician Michelle Wise believes ACC's stance on severe tears is

Professor Michelle Wise says that vaccination data for pregnant women can be collected and anonymized at the national level.
Photo: Supplied

“If 50 percent of pregnant people in Northland are not vaccinated, they are going to have a huge increase in cases among pregnant women in the near future, and they need to plan ahead,” Dr. Wise said.

“I think it would be ideal if the district health board could provide this data publicly so it doesn’t need to be leaked.”

Dr. Wise believes that data can be collected and anonymized at the national level by looking at the National Health Index numbers and immunization records of people who use DHB maternity services.

Although pregnant people were not included in the initial trials of the Pfizer vaccine, subsequent large-scale surveillance has shown no harm to the pregnancy.

Those who are not vaccinated and pregnant are five times more likely to have a premature baby, who needs neonatal intensive care, if they contract Covid-19.

College of Midwives Executive Director Alison Eddy said the change in advice issued on Covid-19 vaccination for women had been challenging for midwives and pregnant people.

Alison Eddy, Executive Director of the New Zealand College of Midwives

Alison Eddy.
Photo: supplied

“The initial advice they gave us, the advice from the government, was that pregnancy was a time to watch and wait,” she said.

“That advice changed relatively quickly when I think it was obvious that we needed to prepare more proactively. So there was a bit of mixed messages at the beginning … And of course the anti-vax and misinformation campaign is really a problem too.” .

She said “poverty, access, [and] colonization “were also systemic problems that challenged the vaccination campaigns for pregnant women, as well as the general hesitation in pregnancy, from” the messages that women internalize around medicine, what they should eat, [and] what should they drink “.

The College does not have “concrete figures” showing how many midwives are not vaccinated, before the mandates established for next week.

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