The Union Health Ministry on Friday accepted the recommendations of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) and approved the vaccination of pregnant women against Covid-19.
Pregnant women may now register on CoWIN or walk-in to the nearest vaccination centre to get themselves vaccinated, says the Ministry.
Health Ministry further added, "The operational Guideline for vaccinating pregnant women, Counselling Kit for Medical Officers and FLWs, and IEC material for the public has been shared with States/UTs for its implementation."
The decision has been communicated to all the states and union territories to implement it under the ongoing National Covid Vaccination Program, it said in a statement.
India's Covid vaccination program incorporates recommendations of the foremost experts in the field of immunization, public health, disease control and information technology.
Based on scientific and epidemiological evidence, the programme gives priority to strengthening the country's healthcare system by protecting the professionals, health and frontline workers, manning it, as well as protecting the most vulnerable population groups, the ministry said.
Till now, all groups except pregnant women were eligible for Covid vaccination.
Now, it is expanded to even pregnant women in the world's largest immunization drive, the statement said.
Studies have shown that Covid infection during pregnancy may result in rapid deterioration of health of pregnant women and they are at an increased risk of severe diseases and it might affect fetus too, it said.
The matter has been examined by domain knowledge experts based on the evidence that indicate that pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness from Covid compared to non-pregnant women in case they get infected.
"Further, pregnant women with COVID-19 infection are at an increased risk for preterm birth and other adverse pregnancy outcomes including higher chances of neonatal morbidity. Additionally, the experts have also highlighted pre-existing co-morbidities, advanced maternal age, and high body mass Index as factors for severe COVID-19 in pregnancy," the statement said.