Goa: Experts demand lactating mothers be vaccinated on priority

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Panaji, May 22 (PTI) An experts' committee formed by the Goa government has recommended that lactating mothers be vaccinated on a priority considering the possibility of a 'third wave' of coronavirus pandemic which doctors believe might affect children the most among other age groups.

Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) dean Dr Shivanand Bandekar, who heads the committee, said transmission of coronavirus might be transmitted from infected mothers to children during the third wave.

“Lactating mothers with children below two years and the mothers with comorbidities should be given a priority in the vaccination,” he told reporters after attending the meeting of the panel.

As per the Goa government data, there are 3.5 lakh to 4 lakh children who are below the age of 18 years in the state and 2.5 lakh children are younger than 12 years.

Dr Bandekar said this recommendation of the committee would be placed before the Task Force being headed by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.

Senior GMCH Dr Jagdish Kakodkar said of the total coronavirus positive cases in the first wave in Goa, seven to eight per cent of patients were children. This number increased to almost 12 per cent during the second wave.

“A similar pattern is noticed all across India,” he said.

Kakodkar said the panel also proposed that the number of neonatal ICU beds is ramped up and a dedicated pediatric hospital is set up each in North and South Goa district to tackle patients in the event of a third wave.

The committee also suggested that 50 per cent of the adult ICU beds be converted into pediatric ICU beds, Dr Kakodkar added.

He said the panel also discussed the treatment protocol for children during the third wave.

'A protocol prescribed by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) would be followed in Goa,' Dr Kakodkar added.

Goa's tally of COVID-19 cases stood at 1,43,192 as of Friday with the overall death toll of 2,302, as per health officials. PTI RPS NSK NSK

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