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Supreme Court to hear DCPCR challenge to Delhi govt decision to exclude pregnant, lactating mothers from Covid-19 jab

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The Supreme Court will hear tomorrow a plea filed by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), Government of NCT of Delhi challenging the decision of the Government to exclude pregnant and lactating mothers from taking Covid-19 vaccination.

The DCPCR is a statutory body created under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 to protect and monitor the implementation of the rights of children as well as promote their cause. The petitioner has also undertaken five rounds of rapid surveys to monitor and improve the distribution of Take-Home Ration (THR) for the beneficiaries such as pregnant women and lactating mothers.

The petitioner submitted that the pregnant and lactating women through an Advisory issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have been excluded from the category of persons eligible to take the vaccine, and no subsequent change has been made to the said advisory, despite later evidence, medical research and studies all demonstrating the need to vaccinate pregnant and lactating women, to protect them from Covid-19.

Earlier, Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the petitioner, stated that the GOI advisory on January 14, 2021 is no longer consistent with the medical and expert opinion on the issue of vaccination for pregnant and lactating women. It was further stated that the latest medical opinion, both domestically and internationally, is of the overwhelming view that pregnant and lactating women need to be treated as a ‘high-risk’ category of persons who ought to be vaccinated on priority.

The Petitioner prays-

The Government of India to categorize Pregnant women and Lactating mothers as belonging to the high-risk category and be given priority in vaccination and set up a task force to work on the procedure.

To develop 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 that informed consent is taken before taking the vaccine.To set up separate vaccination centres for pregnant women and lactating mothers to protect them from infection as they are a high-risk category

To engage Anganwadi Centres and Asha Workers for vaccination drive to reach out to pregnant women and lactating mothers from low socio-economic backgrounds

To make an option on CoWin Portal so that the pregnant women and lactating mothers, can classify/identify themselves as PW/LM and be prioritized while providing slots for vaccination

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