Hospitals in Kenya have expressed concern over the number of pregnant women with the virus being admitted into the Intensive Care Unit owing to the pregnancy complications and risks that make pregnant women vulnerable to the virus.
Speaking to the Daily Nation, Dr Saudah Farooqui, a gynaecologist at Nairobi West Hospital attributed these complications to the strain in the cardiovascular system which comes with pregnancy.
“As the uterus grows, there is less and less room for the lungs. That’s why pregnant women often feel short of breath. And that affects your pulmonary function,” she says.
A Kenya Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (KOGS) council member, Dr Simon Kigondu, further told the Nation that there is an increased risk of pre-term birth among these women.
“This is because the immune system is far from inactive in pregnancy and the really significant immune response to the infection has the potential to cause complications."
Currently, in Kenya, only an attending doctor can waive the risks and potential effects of Covid-19 on pregnancy. However, due to the vulnerability of pregnant women, and poor outcomes in expectant mothers with the virus, Dr Kigondu stated that KOGS is considering recommending vaccination for pregnant women.
He further stated that the society has started looking at the recommendations from the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) on Covid-19 vaccination for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
A new analysis by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), showed that Covid-19 vaccines have been found safe for pregnant women.
If KOGS goes ahead to make a recommendation to vaccinate pregnant women against Coronavirus, Kenya will join the likes of Israel that have been giving Covid-19 vaccines to pregnant women.