'Allow pregnant, lactating mothers to be vaccinated'

Allow pregnant, lactating mothers to be vaccinated: Federation

They recommend vaccinating these women in line with the recommendations of international medical bodies

According to FOGSI, the very real benefits of vaccinating pregnant and lactating women seem to far outweigh any theoretical and remote risks of vaccination. Representative image: iStock Photo

The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) 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.

According to FOGSI, the very real benefits of vaccinating pregnant and lactating women seem to far outweigh any theoretical and remote risks of vaccination.

Lactating women should also be considered as Covid vaccine candidates as there are no known adverse effects on the neonate who is breastfeeding.

Read: As false negative cases increase, Karnataka government directs officials to follow 'syndromic approach'

“Women should be counselled and empowered to make their own decision, supported by caregivers. There should not be any discrimination between women who accept or refuse the vaccine as and when it is possible to administer it in our country to pregnant and lactating women,” it further states.

It recommended that obstetricians, gynaecologists and women’s health care providers should be allowed to administer the Covid vaccines to pregnant and breastfeeding women with preparations to manage adverse events.

Vaccine administration in the preconception period or for women undergoing fertility treatment including assisted reproduction was also recommended.

“Women should take the vaccine at any point of time before a pregnancy is confirmed as and when they have an opportunity to do so. There is no basis for deferring pregnancy or treatments for taking the vaccine. There is no evidence that vaccine administration affects fertility or miscarriage rates,” it said.

Dr Hema Divakar, past President, FOGSI, said, “All Covid vaccines have a risk of blood clots. This is of consideration in pregnancy because this states is also thrombogenic. It remains unknown whether the risk of blood clots increases due to vaccination in pregnancy. Based on reported risks from the general population, this additional risk is likely to be rare. As such, there are no such reports that have emerged.”

In fact, there is a passage of protective antibodies to the child, which may be a beneficial effect, FOGSI says.

Recommendations on the Covid vaccine in maternity care are important. The guidance on this matter will affect about 50 million lives in India every year (based on 25 million births annually and an equal number in the preconception and post-delivery periods). 

Number of Covid positive pregnant women who’ve delivered at Vani Vilas Hospital/Trauma and Emergency Care Centre from the start of the pandemic: 410 Number of Covid positive pregnant women who’ve delivered at HSIS Gosha Hospital from the start of the pandemic: 337

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox