No COVID jabs for pregnant, lactating women as yet: Govt

Despite the increasing Covid cases and rising demand for vaccination, the administration in Jammu and Kashmir has said no to Covid jabs for pregnant and lactating mothers stating that they have not been part of any anti-coronavirus vaccine clinical trial so far.

Amid different opinions on this, Director General Family Welfare, MCH and Immunisation, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman said that the pregnant woman and lactating mothers are not allowed to be administered Covid vaccination.

“As this vaccine is new, there has not been any clinical trials done on its impact on pregnant and lactating mothers, therefore the central government has issued a guideline which categorically mentions that these groups of women should not be administered Covid vaccine.”

“They (pregnant and lactating mothers) should avoid it. Naturally, when any new vaccine is launched, it is not known what impacts it will have on pregnant and lactating mothers unless any study backs it. There is not enough study that favors that pregnant and lactating mothers should receive the jab,” he said adding that this guideline is being followed across India.

Though many doctors’ bodies have pitched for the inclusion of pregnant and lactating mothers in the vaccination drive, however the union health ministry is still silent to these voices.

Many gynaecologists in Kashmir are votary to the fact that there should be Covid vaccination for pregnant women and lactating mothers given the fact they are among the high risk group in the Covid crisis.

Dr. Rifat, a gynaecologist with the government, said there has not been a concrete study which backs Covid jab for this group of women but need of hour is they should be inoculated as the number of cases are increasing and the mutation has made this virus more lethal.

“Early when the vaccination drive was started it was restricted to the age group of 45 to above years, naturally pregnant and lactating mothers don’t fall in this category. Now the government has started vaccination from 18 years above, many women are asking about the opinion whether they can go for it or not.”

Critical Care expert, Dr. Showkat Shah said, “If we reason with benefits and risks, I think benefits of the vaccine outweigh, government should allow vaccination for pregnant and lactating women as there has not been any study which has shown any bad impact of this vaccination on these women group across the globe.”

The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) with over 37,000 doctors as its members has released an 11-page report on its position regarding Covid vaccination for pregnant women and lactating mothers. They recommend vaccinating these women in line with the recommendations of international medical bodies.

However, the union health ministry states individual practitioners cannot advise vaccination to pregnant and lactating women in India until there is a change in recommendations from the ministry.