After the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) suggested on May 13, that pregnant and lactating women be offered the choice to take the COVID-19 vaccine, an expert group representing the centre also recommended vaccination for lactating women.
The government had previously kept the COVID-19 vaccination of pregnant and lactating women on hold due to the lack of substantial data regarding the safety of these vaccines on these women. Although many studies and trials to confirm the safety of the vaccine are being done both in India and other parts of the world, their safety profiles are yet to be sufficiently backed up by human data.
However, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, no evidence of any negative effect has been found in these women after taking the vaccine.
Apart from recommending lactating women to take vaccines, the centre also said that the vaccination for Coronavirus can be taken three months after recovery, and the second dose of the vaccine should also be delayed by three months for people contracting the virus after taking the first dose of the vaccine.
Until now, there was no fixed gap decided for taking the vaccine for such patients, however, several physicians had previously recommended a gap of two to four months for the patients contracting the virus after the first dose of the vaccine.
The new rules have come into action after the recommendation by NEGVAC — the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19, which is led by Dr VK Paul, a member of NITI Aayog (Health). These rules have been officially accepted by the Union Health Ministry.
Not more than a week ago, the central government expanded the gap between two doses of Covishield to 12 to 16 weeks, which previously was decided to be 6 to 8 weeks. The decision, however, drew major criticism from the opposition calling it a step taken due to an acute vaccine shortage.
This is not the first time that the gap between two doses of Covishield has been increased. In March, this gap was increased from 28 days to a period of six weeks in order to push up the vaccine efficiency.