PAHO endorses COVID vaccines for pregnant women

September 10, 2021

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is recommending COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women after their first trimester, and mothers who are breastfeeding.

Dr Carissa Etienne, PAHO director, said that COVID-19 vaccines are critical tools for safeguarding expectant and lactating mothers during the pandemic.

"COVID-19 vaccines, approved by the World Health Organization, are safe to administer during pregnancies. [Additionally] as the mother breastfeeds, she passes immunity to her baby, so COVID-19 vaccines can also help to protect newborns from the virus," she said.

Etienne pointed out that pregnant women who contract COVID-19 have a higher risk of developing serious symptoms and, more frequently, require ventilation and intensive care. Additionally, she said they have a greater chance of experiencing premature delivery.

"So far, more than 270,000 pregnant women in the Americas have become sick with COVID, and more than 2,600 of them or one per cent of those infected have died from the virus. Most countries in our region have already reported more cases and deaths among pregnant women this year than all of 2020," she said.

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