By Joymala Bagchi
New Delhi [India], May 21 (ANI): With India opening up its COVID-19 vaccination drive for lactating mothers on May 19, the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) will hold a meeting soon to discuss the crucial issue of inoculating pregnant women.
The meeting will have a wider discussion taking into account all the study till date after which the Covid working group will come forward with their recommendations.
Further, the recommendations of the NTAGI will be sent to the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19.
Speaking to ANI, Dr NK Arora, Chairman of the COVID-19 working group of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation said, "The discussions are going on. We have NTAGI meeting very soon where the final decision would be taken. We have reviewed all the literature. It is going to have a wider discussion. Will come back with whether pregnant women are made eligible or not."
"We have only two options globally. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines which are 'mRNA' vaccines have done studies (animal studies) that showed there is no toxicity to the growing foetus. There are some studies going on with Covisheild, however, the results are yet to be available in the public domain. So we are looking at practical experience available and would come back," he added.
Messenger RNA, or mRNA, technology is undergoing development for years, however, in Pfizer's and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines, it is the first time mRNA technology has been cleared for use in humans.
The mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine works by tricking the body to produce a harmless piece of the virus, triggering an immune response.
"We are being meticulous and trying to look at the science, carefully weighing the risk and benefit, and based on that we will come back with the recommendation very soon," said the chairman of COVID- 19 working group.
On May 19, in its latest recommendations, Union Health Ministry gave a nod to vaccinate the lactating mothers. The Ministry also states that 'no screening of vaccine recipients by Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) prior to COVID19 vaccination.'
India reported 2,59,591 new COVID-19 cases and 4,209 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry informed on Friday. (ANI)