In absence of data, pregnant women were excluded from the nationwide vaccination drive that started in February
The High Court wants to know within 72 hours the government’s decision on giving the Covid-19 vaccines to pregnant women around the country.
Issuing the order after hearing a petition on the matter on Monday, the virtual bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim asked the attorney general to contact the ministries or offices concerned, according to media reports.
Md Humayun Kabir Pallab represented the petitioner while Deputy Attorneys General (DAGs) Samendranath Biswas and Bipul Bagmar represented the state.
During the hearing, Justice Rahim told the state that even though the health minister on Sunday told reporters that a decision was being made on inoculating pregnant women. “But I think a specific decision should come within 72 hours.”
Then he asked the DAGs to tell the attorney general to speak to the ministry concerned, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19 and tell them to come up with the decision.
The court did not issue a formal order on the matter owing to the health minister’s comment but stressed that a clearer move was needed.
Earlier, four Supreme Court lawyers had served a legal notice to the health secretary, the principal secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, cabinet secretary, and the chiefs of DGHS and IEDCR seeking a decision on inoculation of pregnant women on a priority basis.
The lawyers, one of whom is an expectant mother, filed the writ petition with the High Court on July 31, seeking a ruling, after the legal notice went unanswered.
The Health Ministry kept excluded pregnant women from the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination program since it started in February, as the vaccines were not tested on the demographic in a clinical setting.
However, pregnant women in different countries around the world are now being vaccinated and so far no data on side effects have been reported.
As a matter of fact, the United States, United Kingdom and Australian health authorities are suggesting Covid-19 vaccines for pregnant women to minimize risks.
Also, the World Health Organization said pregnant women should receive the vaccine as the benefits surpass the adverse effects.