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Nations should prioritize pregnant women for Covid-19 shots -PAHO

Nations should prioritize pregnant women for Covid-19 shots -PAHO

Washington, Sep 9 (Prensa Latina) The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on Wednesday insisted on the need to protect pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in the context of complex health crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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More than 270,000 pregnant women have had Covid-19 in the Americas and about 2,600 of them (1% of those infected) have died, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne said, adding that most of Latin American and Caribbean nations have reported more Covid-19 cases and deaths this year than in all of 2020.

Mexico, Argentina and Brazil account for half of all deaths from Covid-19 in the region; and both in Mexico and Colombia, coronavirus became the leading cause of maternal mortality in 2021.

However, less than half of the Latin American and Caribbean countries have implemented guidelines for vaccinating pregnant and breastfeeding women.

In this regard, PAHO strongly recommended that all pregnant women after their first trimester, as well as those who are breastfeeding, receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

Although it is too early to see the impact of Covid-19 immunization on cases and deaths, some nations are showing encouraging signs, Dr. Etienne warned, stressing that when a pregnant woman is getting vaccinated, she transmits immunity to her baby.

Women´s immune system changes during pregnancy, leaving them at greater risk against respiratory infections such as Covid-19, they can even develop severe symptoms.

This pandemic has had a significant impact on the availability of prenatal care and other essential health services, as reports indicate that at least 40% of Latin American and Caribbean countries have reported termination of pregnancies.

‘Routine check-ups and prompt access to health care are pivotal to keep both mother and baby healthy and on track for a safe delivery, so they should be considered as essential and top priority,’ Dr. Etienne said.

During the last week, nearly 1.5 million Covid-19 cases and more than 22,000 deaths have been reported in the region.

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