The immunisation expert committee on Covid-19 vaccines has recommended the government of India to include pregnant women under the Covid-19 vaccination coverage, a top official from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed on Wednesday.

“The expert committee has recommended making pregnant women eligible to receive Covid-19 vaccines after detailed analysis,” said Dr Vandana Gurnani, Additional Secretary & Mission Director, National Health Mission (NHM), while addressing a virtual session.

“Many countries have prioritised vaccination for expecting mothers. Keeping that in view and after rigorous study of safety profiles of our vaccines, the expert committee has recommended making pregnant woman eligible for Covid-19 vaccination,” she added.

Gurnani also informed that the Centre would soon come out with the guidelines of Covid-19 vaccination for expecting mothers.

The current guidelines for Covid-19 vaccination advise lactating women to take the shots but the government has not recommended these jabs for pregnant ladies so far.

In countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel and Belgium, expectant mothers have been moved up vaccination priority lists. However, India has so far been conservative in vaccinating pregnant women citing a lack of clinical trial data, even though many countries have begun vaccinating them.

In its May 28 meeting, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) had also said that pregnant women should be offered Covid-19 vaccines with information about risks associated with the infection in pregnancy and the benefits of vaccination.

“A member suggested to compare the risk of complication with exposure with the risk of clotting after the Covishield vaccine,” stated the minutes of the meeting.

An interim guidance by the World Health Organization (WHO) also advises vaccination of pregnant. The global health agency has stated that pregnant women may be vaccinated if they face a high risk of exposure to covid and if they have co-morbid conditions.