The approval was granted by the Union Health Ministry based on the recommendations of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI). According to the government, the decision allows pregnant women to make an educated decision about receiving the COVID vaccine.
Until last month, lactating women were eligible for the vaccination, but pregnant women were not; the government stated that this was due to a lack of safety and evidence for its effectiveness, as clinical studies for vaccines do not generally involve pregnant women as subjects.
According to a statement, the decision has been conveyed to all states and union territories for implementation under the current National Covid Vaccination Program.
The NTAGI, or National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, met in May to discuss vaccination for pregnant women.
The ministry has produced a brochure to assist frontline workers and vaccinators in counselling pregnant women on the benefits and risks of the Covid-19 vaccine so that they may make an educated decision.
Concerning the detrimental reactions of the Covid vaccinations, the government factsheet said that the vaccines offered are safe, and immunisation protects pregnant women from Covid-19 illness/disease in the same way as it protects other people.
"Why should any woman be kept out of the ambit of vaccination because of a biological process?" Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi spoke out in support of pregnant women having access to the life-saving vaccination against the infectious virus.
Although more than 90% of infected pregnant women recover without the need for hospitalisation, fast deterioration in health may occur in a few, affecting the foetus as well, according to the paper, which also recommends that a pregnant woman receive the Covid-19 vaccination.
"Women who are pregnant or not sure of their pregnancy…should not receive COVID-19 vaccine" since they had not been part of any COVID vaccine trials. Following the recent National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) meeting on May 28, it has been recommended that pregnant women should also be vaccinated since "exposure probability is very high" and that the "benefit far outweighs the risk" the Union health Ministry earlier stated.
Earlier this month, the Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Society of India recommended that obstetricians and gynaecologists, as well as women's healthcare providers, be allowed to administer Covid-19 vaccines to pregnant and breastfeeding women with preparations to manage adverse events.
Individual practitioners, however, cannot suggest vaccination to pregnant and lactating women in India until the MOHFW, GOI changes its guidelines.