Indian Journal of Public Health

LETTER TO EDITOR
Year
: 2022  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 86--87

Immunization by MObilization and MOtivation strategy: Tackling COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among the pregnant and lactating women in India


Ananya Balaji1, Amrit Mishra2, Abhijit Vinodrao Boratne3,  
1 3rd Year MBBS Student, Department of Community Medicine, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India
2 Tutor, Department of Community Medicine, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India
3 Professor and HOD, Department of Community Medicine, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Abhijit Vinodrao Boratne
Department of Community Medicine, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry
India




How to cite this article:
Balaji A, Mishra A, Boratne AV. Immunization by MObilization and MOtivation strategy: Tackling COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among the pregnant and lactating women in India.Indian J Public Health 2022;66:86-87


How to cite this URL:
Balaji A, Mishra A, Boratne AV. Immunization by MObilization and MOtivation strategy: Tackling COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among the pregnant and lactating women in India. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Jul 1 ];66:86-87
Available from: https://www.ijph.in/text.asp?2022/66/1/86/342598


Full Text



Dear Editor,

With great interest, we read the commentary article on “COVID-19 vaccination and the power of rumors: Why we must 'Tune in'” published in the 2nd issue, 65th volume of your esteemed journal in 2021. The commentary highlights the negative influence of rumors on the immunization campaigns carried out in the past and also in the present COVID-19 vaccination drive. It is a matter of concern that misinformation from unreliable sources leads to vaccine hesitancy in all age groups, including pregnant and lactating women.[1] Vaccine hesitancy, pertaining to the COVID-19 vaccine, refers to either refusal or delay in acceptance of vaccines despite the existence of vaccination services.[2] In this article, we would like to propose Immunization by MObilization and MOtivation (I-MOMO) strategy to tackle the vaccine hesitancy among pregnant and lactating women.

Pregnant women are equally likely to contract COVID-19 as any individual. However, their chances of having serious complications in the third trimester are twice as high.[3] Studies have shown that 27% of pregnant women with COVID-19 infection had complications such as premature rupture of membranes and fetal vascular malperfusion.[4]

Although COVID appropriate behavior is effective, following it is not practical in the long term. Hence, improving herd immunity by the vaccine is the only effective method in countering the pandemic. According to new data from the Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe in pregnancy. All pregnant and lactating women are urged to get vaccinated at the earliest.[5] It needs urgent attention in India as the peril of a third wave is not entirely overruled and the fast-approaching festive season in winter.

Despite the data strongly pointing toward a positive risk-benefit ratio, there is a lot of apprehension toward the vaccine among the mothers. Some of the factors that account for this apprehension towards the vaccine are the fear of harm to themselves and their baby and the lack of trust and awareness. There is also a notion among the pregnant mothers that the available research has only been carried out with the non-pregnant population and thus such data is not sufficient to extrapolate the vaccine's safety and efficacy among them.[2]

 Immunization by MObilization and MOtivation Strategy



By employing our I-MOMO strategy, we can alleviate the vaccine hesitancy among pregnant and lactating women. The health care and frontline workers can MObilize the mothers in Anganwadi centers and can counsel them regarding the advantages of COVID-19 vaccination. The role of intersectoral coordination and community participation, i.e., the involvement of all stakeholders, is crucial for achieving expected results. However, the reassurance must not be limited to the word of mouth but through highlighting the scientific data. The MOtivation aspect can be promoted via health education, use of mass media, and promotion by celebrities, etc., The ongoing Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan program can be the platform to implement the I-MOMO strategy for intensified COVID-19 vaccination drive for mothers to improve coverage.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1Dasgupta R, Mishra P, Yadav K. COVID-19 vaccination and the power of rumors: Why we must “Tune in”. Indian J Public Health 2021;65:206-8.
2Mishra A, Boratne AV, Bahurupi Y. Vaccine hesitancy over the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine – A thought-provoking concern with regards to the present scenario. Indian J Med Microbiol 2021;39:392.
3Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Coronavirus Infection and Pregnancy; 2021. Available from: https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy. [Last accessed on 2021 Oct 24].
4Dubey P, Reddy SY, Manuel S, Dwivedi AK. Maternal and neonatal characteristics and outcomes among COVID-19 infected women: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 2020;252:490-501.
5Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New CDC Data: COVID-19 Vaccination Safe for Pregnant People; August 11, 2021. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s0811-vaccine-safe-pregnant.html. [Last accessed on 2021 Oct 24].