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Vaccination to pregnant women suggested

03 August 2021

Staff Reporter :
The national expert committee on Covid-19 vaccination has recommended providing vaccines to expecting and postnatal mothers.
"We have recommended this in a meeting held on July 31. We had considered suggestion from the World Health Organisation and experiences of different countries to make this recommendation," said Dr Benazir Ahmed, member of the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (NITAG).
When Bangladesh rolled out its immunisation drive in February, the Ministry of Health decided to keep pregnant women off the list of recipients as the vaccines had not been tested on the demographic in a clinical setting.
As many as 35 lakh women become pregnant
across Bangladesh each year. These women were not receiving the vaccines for now, according to the Health Ministry.
Some countries around the world have started to immunise pregnant women against Covid-19, and, as of now, no adverse impacts have been reported.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation in the UK and Australia's Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation have suggested that pregnant women should receive the Covid-19 vaccine as it reduces risks.
Also, the World Health Organisation said pregnant women should receive the Covid-19 vaccine as the benefits surpass the adverse effects.
NITAG is a committee formed by the Health Services Division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which makes suggestions to the government on immunisation programmes.
Dr Benazir Ahmed also said, there was a demand from the Obstetrical and Gynecological Society of Bangladesh (OGSB) to the Ministry for this.
Earlier, Prof Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, Director General of the Health Directorate, told journalists that they will decide if the expert committee recommends vaccinating expecting and postnatal mothers.
Meanwhile, the High Court on Monday asked the government to finalise its decision about providing Covid-19 vaccine to expecting mothers on priority basis and to announce it in 72 hours.
The court asked the attorney general to communicate with the Health Ministry and other concerned offices of the government over the issue.
The High Court Bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim passed the verbal order after holding hearing on a writ petition filed seeking its directives for prioritising the pregnant women for Covid-19 vaccination.
Advocate Mohmmad Humayun Kabir Pallab appeared in the virtual hearing on behalf of the petitioners, while deputy attorney generals Samarendra Nath Biswas and Bipul Bagmar represented the State.
During the hearing the court said, "Although the Health Minister told the press yesterday (Sunday) it would decide on vaccinations for pregnant women, I believe a specific decision should be made in 72 hours."
Addressing the Deputy Attorney generals the court also said, "Please tell the Attorney General to contact the Directorate General of Health Services and the National Advisory Committee on Coronavirus asking them to reach a decision soon. We're not issuing a formal order as the minister already said they are working on it."
Deputy Attorney General Samarendra Nath Biswas said he would inform the attorney general about the issue right after court proceedings ended. The court then adjourned the hearing.
Four Supreme Court lawyers filed the writ petition with the High Court on July 31 this year seeking its directives upon the respondents to arrange for the immunisation of the pregnant women on a priority basis. 

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