Brazil recommends suspending use of Oxford Covid vaccine on pregnant women

Sao Paulo, May 11 (EFE).- Brazil’s National Health Monitoring Agency (Anvisa) is recommending an “immediate” halt to the use of the anti-Covid vaccine developed by AstraZeneca to vaccinate pregnant women.

The regulatory agency’s recommendation is that “the instructions in the drug’s prospectus,” which mention the possibility of a recipient developing blood clots, be followed by the National Immunization Program being undertaken by the Health Ministry.

“The guidance is the result of monitoring adverse events regularly found in Covid vaccines that are in use” in Brazil, Anvisa said in a technical announcement released Monday evening.

The announcement does not mention any specific adverse reactions that have been detected in pregnant women, but the Health Ministry confirmed that it is investigating the case of a pregnant woman who developed blood clots a few days after being inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine – developed in conjunction with Britain’s Oxford University – in Rio de Janeiro.

Anvisa also warned that using a vaccine in situations that are not set forth in its prospectus must only be done after an “individual evaluation” of a recipient is performed by a health professional “that considers the risks and benefits of the vaccine for the patient.”

“The current … AstraZeneca vaccine prospectus does not recommend the use of the vaccine without a medical evaluation,” Anvisa said.

After the regulatory body issued its recommendation, several Brazilian states, including Sau Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, announced on Tuesday a precautionary and temporary halt to the immunization of pregnant women and those who have recently given birth.

In April, Brazil, one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic with more than 423,000 deaths, included all pregnant women and those who had recently given birth in the national vaccination program’s priority groups, deeming that they “have an elevated obstetric risk independent of age.”

As of Monday, about 17 percent of Brazil’s population of some 210 million had received at least one dose of one of the vaccines and 8.5 percent had received both doses of the two-dose series.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has been administered to 26.4 percent of the Brazilians who have been immunized since the national vaccination campaign was launched in January, according to figures from the Health Ministry.


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