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Prioritizing Pregnant Women for Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination in African Countries

Abstract

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in pregnancy is associated with excess maternal and infant morbidity and mortality in both African and higher-resource settings. Furthermore, mounting evidence demonstrates the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women and infants. However, national guidelines in many African countries are equivocal or lack recommendations on COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy. We summarize key data on COVID-19 epidemiology and vaccination among pregnant African women to highlight major barriers to vaccination and recommend 4 interventions. First, policymakers should prioritize pregnant women for COVID-19 vaccination, with a target of 100% coverage. Second, empirically supported public health campaigns should be sustainably implemented to inform and support pregnant women and their healthcare providers in overcoming vaccine hesitancy. Third, COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women should be expanded to include antenatal care, obstetrics/gynecology, and targeted mass vaccination campaigns. Fourth, national monitoring and evaluation of COVID-19 vaccine uptake, safety, surveillance, and prospective outcomes assessment should be conducted.

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The African Forum for Research and Education in Health (AFREhealth) is an interprofessional health grouping that seeks to work all stakeholders interested in health profession education , research and service delivery to improve the quality of health care in Africa through research, education and capacity building. It is a conglomerate of individuals, institutions, associations and networks from all the geographic and linguistic regions of Africa namely Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone and Arabophone. Read More...

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