Pregnancy and Covid vaccine trials: Gender justice compromised

Sarojini Nadimpally

On June 11, 2021, a pregnant woman approached the Delhi High Court seeking vaccination for pregnant women on a priority basis. The petitioner also sought directions to the Union government for setting up of separate vaccination centres for pregnant women who are at high risk, and the creation of a registry for monitoring their medical condition post vaccination (1). The case was a pivotal point in the history of Covid-19 vaccine rollouts in India, because it demanded a clear communication from the Union Government for vaccination of pregnant women. The Union Government’s counsel informed the Court that while the Government would consider the May 28 recommendations of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) in favour of vaccinations for all pregnant women based on a risk vs benefit assessment, no timeline was in place for this yet (2). Based on this statement, the Court disposed of the petition, passing no further orders…

… Concerns about Covid-19 vaccination for pregnant women and lactating mothers are actually not limited to India alone. In fact, the exclusion of pregnant and lactating women from biomedical research, including clinical trials, is a long-standing global problem. And, it is a glaring reflection of the gender blindness implicit in clinical research and health policy making.

Read the full article at Indian Journal of Medical Ethics (IJME)

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