Pregnant women deaths from virus worry experts

A recent increase in pregnant women deaths from COVID-19 is causing concerns for experts, prompting them to renew calls for expectant mothers to get their shots.

For instance, in the northern province of Trabzon on the Black Sea coast, casualties among pregnant women have increased sevenfold during the pandemic, while in Ankara at least 12 women have lost their lives due to COVID-19 this year alone.

"Those who died because of the coronavirus were all young and unvaccinated," said Zülfikar Akelma, the provincial health director of the capital.

Hospitals' intensive care units (ICU) in Istanbul have been crowded with pregnant women over the past 20 days, according to Professor İsmail Cinel, the chief physician and the head of the ICU department at the Pendik Training and Research Hospital.

Severe cases, which require treatment in ICUs, and deaths from the virus among pregnant women are significantly high, said Professor Ateş Karateke, the chair of the Turkish Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, partially blaming anti-vaccine statements from some doctors.

"None of our members are speaking against the jab. We strongly condemn those doctors who advise pregnant women not to get the vaccine, they are putting the society at risk," Karateke added, noting that the COVID-19 vaccines are not harmful to the mother and the baby.

Meanwhile, an expert separately warned that coronavirus cases are on the rise among children across the country.

Particularly children with underlying health conditions are more vulnerable, said Professor Mustafa Hacımustafaoğlu at Uludağ University Medical School in the northwestern province of Bursa.

He also warned that the Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading faster among children.

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