FOGSI releases a comprehensive immunization schedule for adult women and new mothers In India

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FOGSI releases a comprehensive immunization schedule for adult women and new mothers In IndiaIndia June 12th, 2024: The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) recently unveiled a comprehensive immunization schedule for women that provides a comprehensive list of essential vaccines that adult women should receive, and the recommended frequency of each vaccine. FOGSI and MSD Pharma have collaborated to raise awareness about women’s immunization and help prevent vaccine-preventable diseases in women across India. Actor and women’s health champion Kajal Aggarwal unveiled the immunization schedule at an event in Mumbai recently. She was joined by Dr. Jaydeep Tank, President of FOGSI, Dr. Madhuri Patel, Sec. General of FOGSI, Prof. Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, Immediate Past President of FOGSI and current Trustee at FIGO (Asia – Oceania), Dr. Reshma Pai, Past President of FOGSI, Dr. Nandita Palshetkar, Past President FOGSI and Past President ISAR (Indian Society of Artificial Reproduction) along with Dr. Priya Ganeshkumar, Chairperson of FOGSI Oncology Committee, who has been leading the project for FOGSI.

Following the launch, the speakers engaged in a panel discussion on the ‘Importance of Immunization & Vaccine Preventable Diseases in Women’. A report [1] highlights that women spend 25% more time in poor health compared to men. Vaccination can help change this and safeguard women from vaccine-preventable diseases, contributing to an improved quality of life.

Dr Jaydeep Tank, President, FOGSI said, “The launch of FOGSI’s updated immunization schedule for women represents a significant milestone in the preventive health for women. This comprehensive resource will provide a clear actionable roadmap to both women and doctors resulting into an increased awareness about vaccination. Immunization is critical in protecting women against vaccine-preventable diseases and thereby helping reduce its burden in India. I firmly believe that this schedule will make a substantial contribution to the overall health and well-being of women in India and benefit the society as a whole.”

Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, Immediate Past President of FOGSI and currently FIGO Trustee (Asia – Oceania) said, “Dr. Hrishikesh Pai, Immediate Past President of FOGSI and currently FIGO Trustee (Asia – Oceania) said, “Vaccination is recommended at different life stages to protect against infectious diseases. The adult vaccine coverage is almost negligible in India and this needs to change. There is an urgent need to sensitize people and health care providers on adult vaccination as these can help save millions of lives in India. Initiatives like the immunization schedule can go a long way in changing the situation and protecting more people in future.”

Kajal Aggarwal, Actor and women’s health champion expressed, “As a mother, my priority is to always be there for my children. And that can only happen when I prioritize my own health. Women should take proactive steps to protect themselves from preventable diseases like cervical cancer. But the challenge often lies in not knowing where to start. I urge all women, regardless of age or stage in life, to take control of their health and consult their gynaecologist today to learn more about the right vaccines for them.”

Rehan A. Khan, Managing Director of MSD India Region said, “At MSD, we are committed to helping protect women and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases, and our collaboration with FOGSI is one more step in this direction. Managing one’s health can be challenging without proper information, but with tools such as the immunization calendar, it can be made simpler. We urge all women to consult their healthcare professional to understand the steps they can take to better protect themselves. We strongly believe that efforts like this will contribute significantly to protecting woman in India from vaccine-preventable diseases.”

Dr Madhuri Patel, Secretary General of FOGSI said, “The period after birth is a crucial stage in every woman’s life. After birth a woman’s body undergoes changes in the immune and hormonal system, which increases the risk of infection. For example, 31% of women after birth are at a high-risk of an HPV infection[2]. Thus, vaccination plays a crucial role in a new mother’s health. The immunization schedule specifically highlights vaccinations that are of utmost importance to new mothers.”

Dr. Rishma Pai, Past President of FOGSI said, “Over 2 out of 3 Indian adults are not aware of adult vaccination, many still think that vaccines are only for children[3]. Concerted efforts are therefore required to improve the awareness of public in general and Healthcare Practitioners regarding Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPDs) and the benefits of adult vaccination, thus addressing the issue of low vaccine coverage, particularly in women.”

Dr. Nandita Palshetkar, Past President of FOGSI & Immediate Past President of ISAR said, “Lack of dedicated adult vaccination centres is an impending factor. It is crucial hence to set up dedicated adult vaccination centres that cater to adolescents, adults, and the elderly. An effective approach to bridge the gap between the expected and actual rates is to expand the number of vaccine delivery sites equipped with special walk-in service and extended hours.”

Dr. Priya Ganeshkumar, Chairperson of the FOGSI oncology committee and Co-ordinator for FOGSI Mahila Kavach Kendra said, “Studies have shown that increasing physicians’ knowledge and awareness on vaccines significantly improves vaccination rates. Information, counselling, and non-directed guidance are perhaps amongst the most important motivators for improving vaccine uptake. It’s because of this that FOGSI decided to provide their member gynaecologists the FOGSI Handbook on Prevention & Management of Cervical Cancer and has also recently launched FOGSI FOCUS PLUS on Adult Women Vaccination, which are of immense importance in confidence building amongst the gynaecologists to counsel their patients on the available vaccines and the preventable diseases, including cervical cancer.”

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