Pregnant women ‘can and should’ take Covid-19 jab vaccinating children ‘still debatable’, says ICMR

NTAGI earlier suggested that pregnant women should be offered a choice to take any Covid-19 vaccination. (Image: Pixabay)

Covid-19 vaccination: The Union Health Ministry making a policy change recommended vaccination for Pregnancy women over growing concern of virus mutations and emerging variants putting expectant mothers at risk to the deadly virus.

In May, when the Covid second wave reached its peak the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) suggested that pregnant women should be offered a choice to take any Covid-19 vaccination and that lactating mothers can be inoculated any time after delivery. The government has re-iterated that due to lack of safety and efficacy data, lactating women are eligible but not pregnant women.

“The vaccine can be given to pregnant women. Vaccination is useful for them and should be given,” Dr Balram Bhargava, Director-General of the Indian Council for Medical Research, was quoted by ANI. He also added that more data needs to be made available to decide whether children should be inoculated against the disease. The government has not permitted vaccinating children even when fear of a third wave looms large, citing the lack of WHO policy on this subject.

Earlier NTAGI-STSC recommended pregnant women should not be excluded from vaccination because “exposure probability is very high and therefore the benefit far outweighs the risk,” the committee said in the minutes of its May 28 meeting. But doubts were raised about possible risks to the mother and child – including that of clotting with the Covishield jab.

Pointing that there is only one country that is giving vaccines to children at this moment until there is sufficient data approving of the same, the Centre will be not in a position to vaccinate children at large. A study is underway and results are expected around September, he further mentioned.

Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech, Covaxin vaccine manufacturer, is conducting a trial on 525 children between two and 18, with results expected in two-three months. Serum Institute of India is also planning a vaccine trial for children below 18 years of age.


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