Mortality rates for pregnant women hospitalised with COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa are almost double that of any other demographic.
Pregnancy also doubles the likelihood that intensive care will be required.
This was revealed in a new multi-centre study across six African countries.
Lead author of the study, Professor Jean Nachega, says the findings confirm pregnant people must be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccinations.
“So pregnancy impacts and worsens the outcome of COVID-19. At the same time, COVID impacts outcomes for pregnant women.
“The implication is basically we need to prioritise COVID vaccination to pregnant women and this is a big challenge because pregnant women are even more hesitant for COVID vaccination,” Nachega said.
“Vaccine hesitancy is a global issue but more so for pregnant women because they are worried about the safety of their baby also. So that’s why I think they’ve been influenced a lot by misinformation on social media of infertility, of you know prematurity.”
“But all those information, we have a mounting of data that does not confirm. So there is a need for education and a need for really try to get them in through antenatal clinic, community pharmacy or community campaign vaccination for this special population to prevent mobility and mortality.”