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PAHO Director urges countries to prioritize pregnant and lactating women for COVID-19 vaccinations

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PAHO Director urges countries to prioritize pregnant and lactating women for COVID-19 vaccinations

More than 270,000 pregnant women were contaminated with COVID-19 within the Americas, and extra than 2,600 dangle died from the virus. In Mexico and Colombia, COVID-19 grew to turn into the main explanation for maternal deaths in 2021.

Washington, DC, September 8, 2021 (PAHO) – Warning that COVID-19 represents a well-known possibility for pregnant women in Latin The united states and the Caribbean, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Carissa F. Etienne urged countries to prioritize expectant and lactating mothers for vaccinations.

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“We all know that if pregnant women assemble sick, they’ve the next possibility of rising well-known COVID symptoms, and extra frequently require air float and intensive care, when put next to women who aren’t pregnant,” she said for the length of her weekly press briefing. “They in reality dangle the next probability of handing over their toddler early or pre-maturely.”

“So, let me be positive,” she persisted, “PAHO recommends that one and all pregnant women, after their first trimester as effectively as women who are breastfeeding, net the COVID-19 vaccine.”  She added that COVID vaccines well-liked by WHO are safe to administer for the length of pregnancy and are a well-known tool to provide protection to expectant mothers for the length of the pandemic.

More than 270,000 pregnant women dangle turn into sick with COVID within the Americas to date, and extra than 2,600 dangle died from the virus. The sigh is amazingly acute in Mexico and Colombia, the set COVID-19 has turn into the main explanation for maternal deaths in 2021.

On the same time, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil account for half of of all COVID deaths among pregnant women within the distance.

“For the previous three a protracted time, Latin The united states and the Caribbean struggled to lower maternal mortality,” Dr. Etienne said. “Now the pandemic threatens to wipe away 20 years of exhausting-fought positive factors.”

The pandemic also threatens health care for pregnant women. On the least 40 p.c of countries within the distance dangle reported disruptions to maternal and novel child care amid the pandemic.

“These disruptions dangle turn into extra frequent for the length of this second year of the pandemic,” Dr. Etienne said. Some countries, including Belize and Guatemala, document that pregnancy-related care has been disrupted in over half of of health sites. 

In addition to to to prioritizing pregnant and lactating women for COVID-19 vaccines, the Director also urged countries to construct certain that their access to health services.

“And sooner or later, it is miles valuable that pregnant women retain the general public health measures confirmed effective towards this virus,” she said, recommending that they wear masks, retain social distance, restrict contact with of us exterior of their households and steer positive of indoor gatherings.

Turning to the toll that the pandemic is taking on the Americas, Dr. Etienne said, “Today we’re seeing nearly double the different of infections reported this time final year.”

She reported nearly 1.5 million cases and extra than 22,000 COVID-related deaths within the Americas within the previous week.

Whereas novel infections are declining within the Caribbean, COVID-19-related deaths are rising on many islands, including Sint Marteen, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico.

COVID-19 infections are rising in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Belize. On the same time, infections proceed to topple all the diagram through South The united states, even despite the truth that there may perchance be a miniature lift in cases in Venezuela.

Vaccination campaigns are progressing despite runt affords, Dr. Etienne reported. To date, 28 p.c of of us in Latin The united states and the Caribbean were totally vaccinated, with valuable variations from nation to nation.

“Whereas we ought to soundless dangle fun that Canada, Chile and Uruguay dangle totally vaccinated over two thirds of their populations, we’ll now not forget that one fourth of countries in our space dangle but to vaccinate 20% of their of us,” Dr. Etienne said. “And in some locations, coverage is diagram lower.”

She pointed out that Guatemala and Nicaragua are below 10% coverage, and in Venezuela, finest over 11% of of us were totally vaccinated. In Haiti, lower than one p.c of the population has been safe.

“PAHO helps to channel donations from countries with extra doses, but we need extra vaccines to put lives within the toughest-hit corners of Latin The united states and the Caribbean,” Dr. Etienne said.  She added PAHO is working to expand vaccine access by utilizing its Revolving Fund to fetch doses for member states and through a longer-timeframe initiative to assemble mRNA vaccines within the distance. “These actions, blended with increased global affords of vaccines which would be expected later this year and in 2022, will aid us lower inequalities.”

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PAHO Director urges countries to prioritize pregnant and lactating women for COVID-19 vaccinations