Now, lactating women can also get Covid jab

Doctors say it will help protect infants too
Now, lactating women can also get Covid jab
A health worker administering a COVID-19 jab in Jammu. GK File/Mir Imran

In the new set of guidelines issued by the Union Health Ministry, it has "cleared" Covid vaccination for lactating women — the move has been welcomed by the doctors stating that it will prevent infants from getting infected.

Prior to this announcement, the central and the state governments had kept lactating women out of the Covid vaccination ambit. "It is a good decision for if the mother is healthy and hale the infant will have lesser chances of getting infected. Mothers are the primary contact for infant babies," said Dr Rifat Ara, a gynaecologist.

She said that barring smallpox and yellow fever vaccines, all other vaccines are safe for lactating women and their children—including vaccines with live viruses, such as chickenpox and measles, mumps and rubella. "The mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant."

Senior Critical Care Expert, Dr. Showkat Shah said that the central government has taken a right decision to clear vaccination for lactating mothers. "After a lactating mother does Covid 19 vaccination, there is no need to stop breastfeeding, she can breastfeed the child easily.  After a few weeks of vaccination, the antibodies made by the lactating mother pass through breast milk and help protect the child from the virus also."

The Centre government on Wednesday said individuals who have recovered from the coronavirus infection should wait for three months before getting vaccinated for the virus and cleared vaccination for lactating mothers. 

The decision was taken on the basis of fresh recommendations made by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19, the Union health ministry said in a release.

Regarding vaccination of pregnant women, the matter is under discussion and will be further deliberated by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization, the government said.

The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), with over 37,000 members, has said that Covid-19 vaccines should be given to pregnant women and lactating mothers. In a statement on Thursday, the group said: "There is a need to prevent further waves and the vaccine is the best and long-term solution to this. This protection should extend to pregnant and lactating women. The very real benefits of vaccinating pregnant and lactating women seem to far outweigh any theoretical and remote risks of vaccination."

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