The long-awaited coronavirus vaccine drive began to roll out today after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the programme virtually.  The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has informed all states and union territories that one cannot interchange the COVID-19 vaccine, and women who are breastfeeding or pregnant and youngsters of less than 18 years are not allowed to take the anti-coronavirus vaccine.Also Read - International Flights: Singapore Airlines Begins Flight Operations From India Through VTL: Check Full Schedule Here

The ministry released a checklist comprising of indications and contraindications of both Covishield and Covaxin vaccines to all states. Pregnant women are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 than non-pregnant women, and COVID-19 has been associated with an increased risk of pre-term birth. With the vaccination drive now started in full swing, people have many questions pertaining to the COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women.  India.Com brings to you answers to the frequently asked questions regarding the coronavirus vaccination drive in India. If you still have a question regarding India’s vaccination drive, please write to us in the comment section or reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook. Also Read - Delhi Metro Services To Resume As Per Regular Weekend Schedule On All Lines From Today

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The letter stated, “Pregnant and lactating women have not been a part of any Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial so far. Therefore, women who are pregnant or not sure of their pregnancy and lactating women should not receive Covid-19 vaccine at this time.”

Why has the ministry decided to not vaccinate pregnant women?

Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should get the COVID-19 vaccine shot at this time. Pregnant and lactating women have not been part of any COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial so far so they should not be vaccinated.

What are guidelines being followed for pregnant women in other countries, majorly the UK and the US?

Clinical trials for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine did not include either pregnant or lactating women, and the company has said available data is so far “insufficient” to determine any risks to pregnancy posed by the vaccine, as per BBC. In the UK, this absence of data has led regulators to exclude pregnant and breastfeeding women from vaccination programmes. In the US, the decision has been left up to these women themselves.

How to protect yourself against COVID in absence of a vaccine shot? 

You can protect yourself by wearing a mask at all times when out in public settings, wash your hands frequently, maintain at least 6 feet distance from people, avoid crowds, the more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are exposed to COVID-19.

Don’t freak out – quick tips to follow

If you are pregnant or lactating, then you can protect yourself by wearing a mask. Mask can prevent you from contracting COVID-19 and the spread of the virus. Remember, you can spread COVID-19 even if you do not feel sick. Wash your hands often. Cover coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect.