Fiji now has more than 15,000 active cases in isolation. It has recorded 146 deaths, 144 of them from the latest outbreak that began in April.
Call to return to normal antenatal care
An Australian health expert says Fijian women who have contracted Covid-19 should return to normal antenatal care as soon as they are no longer infectious.
Addressing a virtual discussion on Fiji, Professor Michelle Giles of Melbourne’s Monash University said as a general rule a woman’s standard antenatal care should not be compromised because she has Covid-19.
And she said this did not have to be done face to face.
Giles said she would encourage pregnant women not to stay away from hospitals or healthcare settings beyond the 14 days for fear of infecting other people because that was not likely to happen.
“What we actually know is that some people can shed the virus for a longer period of time, and it may not equate to them being infectious to others.
“I think if you have other infection control measures in place and they’ve had their 14 days, I would not demand or require a negative test before they have their return for antenatal care.”
Fiji’s Health Ministry has begun administering about 150,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine to pregnant women.
More data was showing that Moderna is safer for pregnant women and their unborn babies, Giles said. Thousands of pregnant women in the US had received the Moderna vaccine and studies showed babies were not seen to be born pre-term or with abnormalities nor were their mothers more likely to experience side-effects.
“Women should get vaccinated as soon as they can, but I think if there are women who have particular concerns about one vaccine, I think we have a lot of accumulated safety data for the Moderna vaccine which is also very reassuring.”
The head of Fiji’s vaccination taskforce Dr Rachel Devi said from next Monday, pregnant women would be given the choice of the AstraZeneca or Moderna vaccine.
“We will not be cross-vaccinating anyone. If anyone out there has already got their first dose of AstraZeneca during their pregnancy, they will get their second dose of the AstraZeneca.
“For those who have not been, they will be offered the Moderna, but of course the choice is theirs.”