Pregnant Women COVID-19 Vaccine: The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) suggested on Thursday that pregnant women may be offered the choice to take the COVID-19 vaccine and added that this would also be applied to lactating women as they could be inoculated at any time after delivery.
NTAGI also suggested increasing the gap between two doses of Covishield vaccine to 12-16 weeks, from the current four to eight weeks. The NTAGI also added that those people who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 should defer COVID-19 vaccination for about six months after recovery.
National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has recommended increasing the gap between two doses of Covishield to 12-16 weeks; While no change recommended in the interval between two doses of Covaxin, say government sources
— ANI (@ANI) May 13, 2021
Pregnant women are considered to be in a high-risk group for the infection of COVID-19 as if they are infected, they are at a higher risk to develop severe illness, complications and will be in need of hospitalisation. While in breastfeeding/ lactating women the risk is high because of the speculation that they can transfer the infection to their newborn either directly or indirectly.
However, according to the Ministry of Health and Family welfare, pregnant and lactating women have been categorised as a “Contraindicated” group for the COVID-19 vaccination, hence not allowing them to be vaccinated yet. But after the suggestion by the government panel, both pregnant and lactating women might be able to get vaccinated soon.
Why are pregnant and lactating women not yet being vaccinated in India?
Several countries including the US, UK, Brazil and Australia have already allowed the use of certain vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna on women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding, as they are at a high risk to contract the virus.
However, in India, vaccination of these women has been kept on hold as there is still a lack of substantial data regarding the safety of the vaccines on these women. Several trials and studies regarding the vaccines available in India are still taking place, and their safety profiles are yet to be sufficiently backed up by human data.
According to a recent study on the subject which is published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, no evidence of injury on the placenta of pregnant women have been found. Several other studies are also being done to verify the safety of COVID-19 vaccines on pregnant and lactating women which may help the government releasing the hold and allowing these women to get inoculated.