52 fatalities recorded from May 2021 – FHB
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
The country has witnessed 52 fatalities of pre- and post-natal mothers with the COVID-19 infection from May 2021, Director Family Health Bureau (FHB), Dr. Chithramalee de Silva said, adding that annually the health service records 90 to 100 maternal deaths due to various reasons.
Attending an online Media briefing at the Government Information Department, Dr. de Silva said nearly 5,000 pregnant women have been infected with the coronavirus from the first COVID wave last year till now. Of them, there had been 52 fatalities from the total number.
She noted that all deaths had occurred since May 2021, with the onset of the third COVID wave that assailed the country. Speaking on the COVID vaccination programme, she said 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the vaccination of pregnant mothers against COVID-19 had taken place till now. It amounts to about 100,000 mothers who had received the jab, she added.
She urged those who had been unable to get inoculated against the virus to do so at their Medical Officer of Health area or from their Family Health Officer (FHO). Of the COVID infected mothers, only three neonates so far have contracted the viral infection. She noted that COVID infected mothers should take all precautionary measures to ensure that the virus does not pass on from mother to infant.
However, this does not mean that they should not breastfeed their newborns, the FHB Director said. Elaborating on other vaccinations against the virus, Dr. de Silva said of the over 30s age group, 63 per cent had been given the first dose, while 50 per cent had been administered both doses of the COVID jab.
She urged the public to refrain from obtaining vaccines outside heath service recommendations. “You cannot mix and match all vaccines at the moment, although a person who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID jab could get Pfizer as his or her second dose. But there is very little research data that Sri Lanka has received on mixing and matching vaccines like Sinopharm,” she explained.