New Delhi [India], January 18 (ANI): The Centre has told the Supreme Court that all pregnant women and lactating mothers who avail of COVID-19 vaccination are made aware of the likely benefits and side-effects of the vaccination.
It further apprised the apex court through an affidavit that as per the advisory and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), pregnant and lactating women are informed about the risks of COVID-19 during pregnancy.
"As per the advisory and SOP issued dated July 2, 2021, once a woman declares herself as pregnant/ lactating woman, the vaccinator provides them with information about the risks of COVID-19 infection in pregnancy, the benefits of vaccination, along with the likely side effects of vaccination. Thus, all pregnant women/lactating mothers who avail COVID-19 vaccination are made aware of the likely side-effects of the vaccination," the affidavit stated.
If pregnant women decide to get vaccinated the vaccinator marks them as pregnant woman/lactating mothers on the Cowin platform and thus, a list of all those women receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is maintained in the database, affidavit stated.
It said that guidelines issued for monitoring of adverse events following the COVID-19 vaccine allow for reporting of any suspected adverse event irrespective of the time interval between the day of vaccination and the day of onset of symptoms.
The affidavit was filed by the health ministry on a plea of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), the Delhi government, seeking additional safeguards for pregnant and lactating women like continuous monitoring of those receiving COVID-19 vaccination.
DCPCR had contended that there is a need to conduct scientific research to see what are the effects on pregnant and lactating women.
The plea further said there is a need to create a registry for ensuring continuous monitoring. The Centre had issued operational guidelines for vaccination for pregnant and lactating mothers, however, some concerns remain unaddressed, and now it is being stated that there may be some adverse effects on them due to vaccination, it added.
The petition said there is a need to declare women in these conditions as high-risk categories and since people are dealing with a virus that they do not know much about, there is a need to conduct continuous research on the effects of vaccination on them.
The plea sought direction for developing education material and Standard Operating Protocols to educate women on the side effects of vaccination, effects of vaccination on pregnant and lactating mothers and ensure taking informed consent before taking the vaccine.
It further asked for relief for the creation of a registry to register pregnant women and lactating mothers being vaccinated to ensure the existence of a continuous monitoring mechanism to see if the vaccine has an adverse effect on pregnant women.
"The health of pregnant women and lactating mothers is inextricably connected with and directly impacts on the mortality and health of children," the petition said. (ANI)