Pregnant women in India can now take the COVID-19 vaccination, for which they can register on the CoWIN portal or walk-in directly to the nearest COVID vaccination centre (CVC), the Union Health Ministry confirmed on Friday, July 2.
The health ministry's approval comes after the recommendations of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI).
The Centre had earlier said that pregnant women or women who are not sure of their pregnancy must not be vaccinated, since they had not been part of any COVID vaccine trials. Following the NTAGI held a meeting on May 28, wherein they concluded that the vaccine benefits outweighed the potential risks.
The decision has been communicated to all the states and the union territories.
- The procedure for registration, reporting of vaccination, generation of the certificate, etc. remains the same as the general population.
- The vaccination centres must adhere to the 30 minutes of observation rule post-vaccination.
- States and UTs will undertake a virtual orientation of health workers (FLW-ASHA, AWW, ANM, Link Worker, other) and others responsible for the COVID vaccination program at the district, block, and sub-block levels. This will also include Health and Wellness centres, medical colleges, and private clinics.
- The state would list down individuals including Staff Nurses, District Program managers, and Community Health Officers, etc., to train the frontline workers and vaccinators on counselling of pregnant women, the benefits and risks of the vaccine, the registration procedure, and information about available vaccination centres.
- During counselling, the woman must be informed about the risks of the virus on her and the baby's health, the benefits of vaccination, its potential side effects, long-term adverse reactions and precautions to be taken after taking the jab.
- Obstetricians, gynaecologists, paediatricians, and neonatologists must be included in the adverse events following immunization (AEFI) committee.
- Any adverse events found should be immediately reported to Co-WIN.
- If infected with the virus during pregnancy, the woman should be vaccinated soon after the delivery.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Dr Nupur Gupta, Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Fortis, advised women to consult with their gynaecologist before going ahead with vaccination.
About the benefits of the vaccination, Gupta said it would be for pregnant women with comorbidities and those who are at high risk for exposure due to their work."
COVID-19 Effect On Pregnant Women
The ministry said the vaccines are safe and it protects pregnant women against contracting the virus.
Although, more than 90 per cent of pregnant women infected with the virus recover without any severe complications, a rapid deterioration in health may occur in a few women, which might further affect the foetus. It is, therefore, advised that a pregnant woman should take the COVID-19 vaccine, the ministry said.
The vaccination guidelines released by the Centre also briefs about the COVID-19's effect on the unborn baby, potential complications that could develop after the infection, symptoms after receiving the vaccine, and so forth.