New Delhi: Indian pregnant women are more willing than their counterparts in the rest of the world to take a covid-19 vaccine that is safe, free and 90% effective, according to a global survey of women conducted by Harvard researchers.
The results of the research by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, US, were published this week in the Eur-opean Journal of Epidemiology.
The research indicated that “vaccine acceptance”—willingness to be vaccinated—was highest among pregnant women in India, the Philippines, and countries in Latin America. It was lowest in Russia, the US and Australia.
According to the survey, most pregnant women and mothers of children younger than 18 years said they would receive a covid-19 vaccine themselves, and get their children vaccinated. About 18,000 women in 16 countries responded to questions about a hypothetical safe and free covid-19 vaccine with 90% efficacy.
Overall, 52% of pregnant women and 73% of non-pregnant women said they would receive such a vaccine, and 69% of all women surveyed said they would vaccinate their children.
Vaccine acceptance varied by country. Acceptance in India, the Philippines and Latin America was above 60% among pregnant women and above 78% among non-pregnant women.
More than 75% of mothers indicated they will vaccinate their children. Vaccine acceptance in the US and Russia was lower (below 45% among pregnant women and below 56% among non-pregnant women for themselves) and similar to countries with very few covid-19 cases, such as Australia and New Zealand. This hesitation in the US and Russia could be due to covid-19 denial, according to the researchers.
Whether or not to vaccinate pregnant women has been a matter of debate because little data is available to assess vaccine safety in pregnancy. “Nevertheless…we don’t have any specific reason to believe there will be specific risks that would outweigh the benefits of vaccination for pregnant women,” says the World Health Organization (WHO).
“For this reason, those pregnant women at high risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (such as health workers) or who have comorbidities which add to their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated in consultation with their healthcare provider,” WHO adds.