Pregnant women in India can take the COVID-19 vaccine

People can also jump off a cliff.  — editor’ note


The vaccine can be administered at any time during the pregnancy.

Representative image of a pregnant woman

The Union government has approved administration of the COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women. On June 25, the Union Health Ministry made the announcement in a press conference. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava said that the Health Ministry had published guidelines for inoculating pregnant women with the vaccine. “The vaccine is useful for pregnant women and it should be given,” Dr Bhargava said, according to news agency ANI.

The minutes of the meeting of the 16th National Technical Advisory Group of Immunisation (NTAGI) Meeting from May 28 reveal that the decision was taken then. However, before vaccination, pregnant women should be fully informed that the long-term adverse reactions, and the safety of the vaccine for fetus and child is not yet established,” it said.

“Mandatory 30 minutes of in-hospital observation after vaccination is recommended. An educational tool comprising information on the risk of COVID-19 infection during pregnancy, benefits associated with the COVID-19 vaccination and rare complications associated with vaccines e.g., thrombosis and thrombocytopenia (with COVISHIELD) may be developed to be communicated to every pregnant woman before administering the vaccine. Vaccine may be provided at any time during pregnancy,” it added.

There were also doubts raised in the meeting, about possible risks to the woman and/or the child, including clotting with regards to Covisield – the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot. However, it was decided that the benefits outweigh the risks.

While the approval for vaccinating pregnant women has been given, the Union government also said that pregnant women should be fully informed that long-term adverse reactions and safety of the vaccine for fetus and child (has) not yet (been) established.”

Several doctors had told TNM that they were seeing more pregnant women get COVID-19 in the second wave of the pandemic than the first. Several doctors also pointed out how pregnant women were at risk of more severe COVID-19 disease.

In the US too, pregnant women are recommended to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, doubts continue about vaccinating those below 18 years of age until relevant data is made available. Presently, Bharat Bitotech, which makes Covaxin, is conducting vaccine trials on children between two and 18 years of age.


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