A CORK woman has raised concerns about the delay in information being given to pregnant women in relation to the vaccine rollout.
The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said that despite recent recommendations that pregnant women at between 14 and 36 weeks gestation be offered a vaccine after consulting their doctor, that the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly “couldn’t give an answer after four or five different TDs questioned him on it”.
The Minister was questioned recently in the Dáil about the availability of the vaccine for pregnant women.
“It’s outrageous because it was announced last week about vaccinations going ahead for pregnant women.
“I know there are things to be considered but it’s a time-sensitive situation because it’s 14 to 36 weeks gestation so not everyone has that time.
“In my own case, I’m currently 25 weeks pregnant. I wanted to get the two doses as soon as made available to myself so thankfully I don’t have that time pressure but I do know of people who are currently from 30 to 32 weeks pregnant who are being told the same thing as me that they have no clue. You go to the GP and the GP says we have no clue and to call your maternity hospital, then you call the maternity hospital and they say go to your GP we have no clue and so on,” she said.
She said that she and her partner had been trying for the last week to get some guidance and that eventually an email of hers was picked up by an HSE staff member and she has since secured an appointment for vaccination.
“Thankfully one of our emails was picked up by someone in the HSE so I now have a spot but it’s like a lottery because I feel bad for other people and at least I’m 25 weeks, there are people who are 30 to 32 weeks.
“I’ll be 26 weeks next week and 30 when I get the second dose so I’ll just about be there,” she said.
She said that having to chase people for answers shouldn’t be required and that although one’s own GP could be “a great practice” that the problem is “they haven’t received official guidance from the HSE so they’re not going forward with it and it’s the same with the maternity hospitals”.
“It shouldn’t be the way where you’re having to pester someone to try and get what’s being offered to you and with the news of new variants and stillbirths, it’s a stressful time to be pregnant already.
“It’s been over a week since the announcement and only yesterday they said it would be offered from next week so that’s two more weeks that pregnant ladies cannot avail of the vaccine.
“We got lucky with someone picking up our email but if not what were we to do,” she said.
Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould raised the issue with Minister Donnelly in the Dáil this week, asking him to offer clarification to pregnant women.
“The CUMH have asked pregnant women to wait a few more weeks. Many don’t have a few weeks to wait.
“Again, instead of agreeing to look into this, the Minister downplayed the fear of vulnerable expectant mothers,” he said.