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I gave birth to my son just last week and the news of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) opening vaccination for pregnant women on 25 June is nothing but a big win for every expecting mother.
Despite a surge in cases in the country, including the National Capital, pregnant women were listed to have had contraindications to the two dominant COVID-19 vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – being administered in India. The reason cited for this exclusion is the lack of clinical data in vaccine trials.
Hence, my Change.org petition addressed to the country's Health Minister Harsh Vardhan sought vaccination to be opened for pregnant women and their caregivers in India. It also asked for expecting mothers to be given urgent medical care as they are in the high-risk category.
This is announcement is a big win. After months of campaigning and advocacy to open up vaccinations for pregnant women, the government last week, finally approved the same.
When I started the campaign, I was into eight months of pregnancy. At any time there are approximately 25 million pregnant women in India. This is a highly vulnerable population and also at high risk of mortality if they contract COVID. Opening vaccination for them is a step in the right direction. But more needs to be done.
Need Specific Guidelines for Vaccinating Pregnant Women
Special time slots or centres need to be assigned for pregnant women and lactating mothers so that they don't risk contracting COVID-19 by waiting at crowded vaccination centres.
Also, awareness campaigns on vaccinating pregnant women need to be run in both urban and rural areas. Collection of evidence-based data in vaccinated pregnant women and lactating mothers is also essential.
I just gave birth a week ago and my vaccination slot is already booked for 1 July.
Vaccination and the right to access healthcare is your right and when granted, it is also your responsibility to ensure your own safety and the safety of those around you.
(The author is a journalist based in Delhi. All ‘My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)