Bringing a major change in its vaccine policy, India's health ministry said that pregnant women "can and should" be vaccinated against Covid-19
Bringing a major change in its vaccine policy, India's health ministry said that pregnant women "can and should" be vaccinated against Covid-19. The decision came after growing concerns over exposure of expecting mothers and their unborn children to the virus and their right to be vaccinated. Recently, lactating mothers were included in the vaccine drive but pregnant women were still kept out of it.
The government had said pregnant women were not included among vaccine beneficiaries due to lack of data as clinical trials for vaccines do not typically include pregnant women.
"The Health Ministry has given guidelines that the vaccine can be given to pregnant women. Vaccination is useful for them and should be given," Dr Balram Bhargava, Director-General of the Indian Council for Medical Research, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
In May, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) in a meeting discussed vaccination of pregnant women among other issues.
"Considering current situation of pandemic, NTAGI-STSC recommends pregnant women should not be excluded from vaccination because exposure probability is very high and therefore the benefit far outweighs the risk," the committee said in the minutes of its May 28 meeting.
Though doubts were raised over the possible risks to the mother and/or child but the committee reached on the decision that the "benefit far outweighs the risk".
"... before vaccination, pregnant women should be fully informed that long-term adverse reactions and safety of vaccine for fetus and child (has) not yet (been) established," it added.(SAM)