COVID19 vaccination recommended for all lactating women: Health Ministry

The health ministry has written to all the states and UTs recommending COVID19 vaccination for all lactating women. Decision on vaccination of pregnant women is under discussion. Vaccination to be deferred by three months after recovery. More details here.

Gaon Connection
| Updated: May 19th, 2021

Image used for representation purpose. Photo: Unicef India/flick

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has accepted the recommendations of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) and recommended COVID-19 vaccination for all lactating women. Regarding the vaccination of pregnant women, “the matter is under discussion and further deliberation”, reads the official press note issued today. 

Additionally, the health ministry has also accepted the recommendation to defer the COVID-19 vaccination by three months after recovery. The vaccination has to be deferred also

  • if infected with COVID after first dose, second dose to be deferred by three months after clinical recovery from COVID;
  • people with any other serious general illness requiring hospitalization or ICU care should also wait for 4-8 weeks 

However, there is no requirement for screening of the vaccine recipients by rapid antigen test (RAT) prior to COVID-19 vaccination, reads the press note. 

Accepting these recommendations of the NEGVAC, the health ministry had also written to states and union territories to direct the concerned officials to take note of these recommendations and undertake necessary action for their effective implementation.

It has also recommended that an individual can donate blood after 14 days of either receipt of COVID-19 vaccine or testing RT-PCR negative, if suffering from COVID-19 disease.

Earlier, on January 14, the health ministry had said that vaccination during pregnancy and for lactating mothers is ‘not recommended’ for both Covishield and Covaxin, which were officially approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for immunisation against the COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also issued an interim recommendation earlier this year on January 26 for the COVID-19 vaccine and had advised that pregnant women should not receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. “While pregnancy puts women at a higher risk of severe COVID-19, the use of this vaccine in pregnant women is currently not recommended, unless they are at risk of high exposure (e.g. health workers),” the WHO statement noted.

Gaon Connection also reported about the divided opinion of health experts in the country on getting pregnant and lactating women vaccinated for COVID-19. 

Also Read: As India gets set to kick-off the COVID-19 vaccination drive on Jan 16, opinions are divided about the wisdom of pregnant women getting vaccinated