Of the total unvaccinated population in the country, the maximum numbers comprise pregnant women, they said.
Around 4 million pregnant women have taken the Covid jab ever since the vaccine drive rolled out, which is a minuscule number given that estimates show there are 30 million of them in the country at any point.
The low uptake of the vaccine among expectant mothers has become a cause of concern for the government, said an official. The official added that states should undertake a special campaign to encourage them to get vaccinated against Covid, which would lead to higher coverage.
“Studies suggest that complications go up in unvaccinated pregnant women and there is a need to educate and push them to get the vaccine at the earliest,” the official said.
The issue assumes significance as recent studies suggest that unvaccinated pregnant women are at a much higher risk of developing childbirth-related complications.
A new study published in Nature Medicine this week showed that pre-term births, stillbirths and fatalities among newborns are more common among mothers who contracted Covid 28 days, or lower, before their delivery date when compared to women who had it in earlier stages of pregnancy or who hadn’t got the infection.
The researchers analysed data relating to all pregnant women in Scotland, including 87,000 who were pregnant between the start of vaccination uptake between December 2020 and October 2021.
Vaccination uptake during the study period was lower in pregnant women, compared with women aged 18 to 44 in the general population, it said. The majority of complications also included Covid-related critical care admissions, occurring in unvaccinated women, the study showed.
The researchers said the extended perinatal death rate among babies born within 28 days of their mothers developing Covid-19 was 23 per 1,000 births. They correlated the deaths to find that all were linked to mothers who were unvaccinated at the time of infection.