New Delhi: The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre on Monday, regarding a plea of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), Delhi government. The petition was made, seeking additional safeguards for pregnant and lactating women, like continuous monitoring of those receiving COVID-19 vaccination.
DCPCR approached the top court against the advisory of the Union government, for excluding pregnant and lactating women from COVID-19 vaccination. A Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud also sought the assistance of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, on the policy which has been formulated and applicable guidelines that are to be framed.
‘Advocate Vrinda Grover for DCPCR submits that petition was instituted in May 2021 during second COVID-19 wave and subsequently operational guidelines have been issued for pregnant and lactating mothers. However, there are some reliefs that are to be sought. Issue notice to Union of India. Solicitor General is required to assist the court about the policy which has been formulated and applicable guidelines that are to be framed,’ the Bench stated in its order.
The petition sought direction for developing education material and Standard Operating Protocols, to educate women on the side effects of vaccination and also vaccination effects on pregnant and lactating mothers. It also demanded that taking informed consent should be ensured, before taking the vaccine. The plea further asked for relief for the creation of a registry, to register pregnant women and lactating mothers being vaccinated, to insist the existence of a continuous monitoring mechanism to see if the vaccine has made any adverse effect on pregnant women.
During the hearing, petitioner argued that, since we are dealing with a virus that we don’t know about, there is a need to conduct scientific research, to study the effects on pregnant and lactating women. She also pointed out that the petition was filed in May this year, the Centre has issued operational guidelines for vaccination for pregnant and lactating women, and however, some concerns remain unaddressed. ‘The health of pregnant women and lactating mothers is inextricably connected with and directly impacts on the mortality and health of children,’ the petition added.