SC seeks Centre’s reply on plea for priority vaccination for pregnant women

Advocate Vrinda Grover for DCPCR submits that petition was instituted in May 2021 during second COVID-19 wave and subsequently operational guidelines have been issued for pregnant and lactating mothers.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on a plea of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), Delhi government, seeking additional safeguards for pregnant and lactating women like continuous monitoring of those receiving COVID-19 vaccination.

A Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud also sought Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s assistance on the policy which has been formulated and applicable guidelines that are to be framed.

“Advocate Vrinda Grover for DCPCR submits that petition was instituted in May 2021 during second COVID-19 wave and subsequently operational guidelines have been issued for pregnant and lactating mothers. However, there are some reliefs that are to be sought. Issue notice to Union of India. Solicitor General is required to assist the court about the policy which has been formulated and applicable guidelines that are to be framed,” the Bench stated in its order.

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 During the hearing, Grover argued that since we are dealing with a virus that we don’t know about, there is a need to conduct scientific research to see what are the effects on pregnant and lactating women.

 She further said there is a need to create a registry for ensuring continuous monitoring. Grover added that after the petition was filed in May this year, the Centre has issued operational guidelines for vaccination for pregnant and lactating women, however, some concerns remain unaddressed.

 DCPCR approached the apex court against the advisory of the Union government excluding pregnant and lactating women from COVID-19 vaccination.

The plea sought direction for developing education material and Standard Operating Protocols to educate women on the side effects of vaccination, effects of vaccination on pregnant and lactating mothers and ensure taking informed consent before taking the vaccine.

It further asked for relief for the creation of a registry to register pregnant women and lactating mothers being vaccinated to ensure the existence of a continuous monitoring mechanism to see if the vaccine has an adverse effect on pregnant women.

“The health of pregnant women and lactating mothers is inextricably connected with and directly impacts on the mortality and health of children,” the petition said.

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