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Women visiting antenatal clinics may be asked whether they are vaccinated against covid-19, following a health ministry decision to study the jabs for safety in pregnant women and newborns.

An official said there is no concrete data on vaccinated pregnant women: in most cases information on pregnancy may not have been reported by vaccine clinics, leading to under-reporting of the vaccination status of pregnant women on the CoWIN platform.

As per the CoWIN portal, run by the National Health Authority, around 960 million doses have been administered to women.

“There is no concrete data of what percentages of pregnant women are vaccinated. For example, if a woman receives her vaccination today and after two or three months she conceives then that woman’s vaccination data will not be counted in the category of pregnant mothers, or if a woman is in the first trimester of her pregnancy and unaware of the fact, then also her vaccination data is not entered in the category of pregnant women. And also, it is not very much focused that the vaccinator has to mandatorily ask about the pregnancy status of a woman who is visiting the vaccination centre," said the official

Most of the women of reproductive age (15-45 years) are vaccinated with at least one dose of covid vaccination.

The health ministry’s division which collates data of adverse events after vaccination may be having data of 2.5-3 million pregnant women who have been vaccinated but that seems to be erratically documented.

“So, there is a plan to initiate a study at ante-natal clinics to know what proportion of women are immunized and monitor the safety of vaccine in this group and their newborns," the official added.

The matter has been discussed multiple times in meetings of the National Technical Advisory Group of Immunization, where concern was also raised on the slow uptake of covid-19 vaccination among pregnant women, especially booster doses because the data on pregnant women is not documented well.

Last year in July, the union health ministry allowed pregnant women to be vaccinated after a recommendation by the National Technical Advisory Group of Immunization.

Around 30 million women become pregnant every year in India. Queries emailed to the National Health Authority and health ministry spokespersons did not elicit a response.

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