The Delhi High Court has disposed of a plea filed by a pregnant woman seeking directions to the Union Government to issue advisory/guidelines for including pregnant women in the Covid-19 vaccination drive on priority basis.
The matter was yesterday heard by the single-judge bench of Justice Amit Bansal, who remarked that no time-bound direction for implementing the rule of vaccination of pregnant women can be given to the Government.
Petitioner’s counsel Vasudha Zutshi submitted that the petitioner is at an advanced stage of her pregnancy and desires to get vaccinated on priority basis. It was further submitted that these are exigent circumstances and that being in her last stage of pregnancy, the petitioner is highly exposed to Covid-19, as she has to make frequent visits to the hospital.
She sought directions to the respondents to file a Status Report, indicating the time period by which vaccinations for these citizens would be made available. “I’m a high-risk patient. I’m a high priority citizen. Am I not entitled to know what the government is doing for me?” stated Ms Zutshi.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, along with Advocate Anurag Ahluwalia, appearing for the Centre, informed the Court that the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), the premiere body on immunisation, has already made recommendations for vaccination of pregnant women vide meeting dated May 28, 2021.
He submitted that though the Government is expected to take a decision on the same soon, but timeline by which the said rule would be implemented, cannot be specified at the moment.
The petition has been filed by a woman, who is around 36 weeks pregnant, seeking vaccination drive for pregnant women on priority basis. The petitioner also prayed for setting-up separate vaccination centres for such women, to protect them from infection as they are a high-risk category, and to create a registry for monitoring the medical condition of such women post vaccination.
The plea stated that the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), a medical professional organization representing practitioners of obstetrics and gynecology in India, has in April 2021, in its position statement on Covid-19 vaccination for pregnant and breastfeeding women, categorically recommended that “obstetricians and gynecologists and women’s health care providers should be allowed to administer the Covid vaccines in pregnant and breastfeeding women with preparations to manage adverse events.”