NEWS

Medical probe into anti-vax claims by gynecologists

Investigation ordered amid reports some doctors discouraging inoculation for pregnant women

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As Greece recorded a new high of 6,808 confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday, Health Minister Thanos Plevris called for an investigation into reports that some gynecologists are discouraging pregnant women from getting vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2.

In a letter, Plevris asked the Panhellenic Medical Association to examine the relevant complaints, “and to judge whether such medical advice contradicts the rules of medical science and endangers the health of patients.”

For its part, the association noted that it assists the local medical associations that have the authority to investigate such complaints and will ensure that action is taken in proven cases.

The minister’s call came in the wake of several cases of pregnant women with severe Covid-19, including a 40-year-old nurse who was in intensive care at the University Hospital of Larissa in central Greece Thursday, and a 38-year-old who died of Covid-19 a few days ago in the northern port city of Thessaloniki. According to the latter’s mother, she had not been vaccinated on the recommendation of her doctor.

If this claim is confirmed, then it contradicts the instructions of Greece’s competent scientific bodies, including the Hellenic Obstetrics and Gynecology Society which has issued guidelines based on which the vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 is recommended for all pregnant women.

In comments to Kathimerini, the society’s president and a professor of gynecology, Dimitris Loutradis said “we have issued instructions since last May and recommend vaccination to pregnant women at any time during pregnancy.” He added that these guidelines are in line with recommendations from international bodies such as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Great Britain and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“We know that because of their weakened immune system, they are more vulnerable to the virus,” he said, stressing that gynecologists are aware of these recommendations. “Even colleagues from remote areas called to ask about the instructions they should give pregnant women,” he said.

Echoing the same sentiment, infectious disease expert Vana Papaevangelou insisted Thursday that “vaccination of pregnant women is safe, effective and necessary.”