Why vaccinate pregnant and breastfeeding (P+BF) women against COVID-19 in India?

A decision that will affect the lives of 50 million Indians over the next year.

At present, @MoHFW_INDIA has contraindicated the use of the vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) in P+BF women on the sound basis of there not being adequate data to establish safety.

We are in the midst of a raging second wave. There could be more waves. The only long term answer is maximum vaccine coverage. P+BF women also need protection. Not to be deferred.

General vaccine benefits are reduced deaths, serious COVID-19 illness, hospitalization). Applies to P+BF women too.

P+BF women needs protection specifically - late pregnancy and postdelivery periods (like comorbidities) & can worsen the course of COVID-19 infection

P+BF women generate same degree of immunity as general population + pass antibodies to the baby. This is an extra benefit of vaccinating P+BF women. 2 for the price of 1!

V-safe registry (CDC, USA) has data on over 35000 P+BF women given the mRNA (Pfizer) vaccine. It is safe. There is no increase in adverse effects or abnormal pregnancy outcomes.

SAFETY - Greatest concern in every new group of population where vaccines are allowed.

There is no published data on Covaxin and Covishield use in pregnancy.


Covaxin is a killed virus vaccine. Cannot replicate. Covishield (virus vector vaccine) does not have coronavirus in the vaccine. No mechanisms to affect the fetus.

Influenza vaccine (killed virus) is freely recommended in P+BF.

Animal studies - no adverse fetal effects.

The apex body of OBGYN professionals @FIGOHQ strongly advocates the use of all types of COVID-19 vaccines in P+BF women. The real benefits far outweigh the risks of disease.

Similarly supportive stance by @RCObsGyn and @acog

Women should be empowered to decide.

PLEASE NOTE – Currently, In India, women’s care providers CANNOT advise P+BF women to get the COVID vaccine till such time that @MoHFW_INDIA changes recommendation.

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