Health ministry says pregnant women now eligible for vaccination
The Union Health Ministry on Friday announced the expansion of the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive to include pregnant women with the aim of protecting them against the disease. The decision was made in line with the recommendations made by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), the ministry said in an extensive advisory.
The health ministry has called on pregnant women across the country to register themselves for vaccination on the CoWin portal. They can also receive the vaccine via walk-ins to their nearest Covid-19 Vaccination Centre (CVC).
It noted that pregnant women who get infected with COVID-19 are more likely to require intensive care than their non-pregnant counterparts, as the disease can affect the health of both mother and fetus. Therefore, the ministry has advised pregnant women to get vaccinated at any time during their pregnancy.
“The decision empowers pregnant women to make an informed choice on taking the Covid vaccination,” the ministry said.
It has underlined that the procedures and modalities including registration and generation of certificates will remain the same as for other age groups as part of the programme.
Earlier, the ministry issued a guideline for frontline workers and vaccinators related to counseling pregnant women about the significance and precautions of vaccinations in order to help them in making an informed decision.
Busting myths related to the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines, the government assured vaccines currently available in the country are safe and effective for pregnant women as it provides necessary immunity to fight the virus. However, the ministry informed that after getting the vaccine injection, women can feel pain at the injection site. Furthermore, they can get a mild fever or feel discomfort for 1-3 days after receiving the vaccine.
The NTAGI conducted a meeting on May 28, following which it issued a recommendation to vaccinate pregnant women to protect them from COVID-19 exposure.
As of Friday, health authorities have administered more than 36 crore vaccine doses across the country. At present, India is administering three vaccines to its eligible population – SII’s Covishield, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Russia’s Sputnik V.