The National Public Health Center approved vaccinations for pregnant women against the coronavirus on Friday, and from Saturday, medical universities have begun inoculating pregnant and lactating mothers at separate vaccination points through GP referrals. However, the vaccination points had experienced organizational problems when not only registered women showed up. There were also examples of women getting a jab who came without a referral or without proving their pregnant status.
On Friday, a decision was made to allow pregnant women to be vaccinated in advance. Semmelweis University was the only institution in the country to move extremely proactively and their staff went to work early Saturday morning to vaccinate expectant mothers. Originally, they would have vaccinated those who received a referral from their GP or gynecologist.
The rector of the institution, Béla Merkely, posted on the website of Semmelweis University that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can already be given to pregnant women on request based on a risk-benefit assessment by their doctor.
The new variants of the coronavirus proved to be much more dangerous for pregnant women than what was experienced during last year’s waves: RTL Klub News reported on Friday night that a woman around Eger had lost her life after giving birth to her seventh child. She was on a ventilator after giving birth, but the doctors failed to save her life. According to RTL, another pregnant woman from Fejér County, who was only 23 years old, also died from the coronavirus. The young woman contracted the virus during pregnancy and lost her life after the birth of her child.
In light of these new dangers, the authorities have accepted that pregnant women should be prioritized for vaccinations. According to information from Semmelweis University, even though about 100 people were officially booked for vaccinations, by Saturday afternoon multiples of that number turned up. The university, after seeing the long queue waiting to get vaccinated, decided not to send anyone home who arrived without registration, but to vaccinate everyone, including those who ignored the clear request about having GP referral.
However, in reaction to the chaotic developments, the university said late afternoon on Saturday that from the next day onwards, only those pregnant women can receive vaccinations who have registered, have a referral, and a prenatal care booklet. This is primarily for prioritizing reasons, therefore lactating women were asked by the institution to request an appointment for the following week.
Katalin Novák, Minster for Family Affairs, stressed in a Facebook post that pregnant women have to register on the government’s website and then contact their GP who will arrange their vaccination at the hospital vaccination point. She added that women should bring their prenatal care booklet with them upon arrival to the vaccination point. Novák said that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can be used for vaccination according to professional guidelines and the first jab is recommended after the 12th week of pregnancy, while the second one after childbirth.
Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Balogh/MTI