Health officials in Brazil have urged women not to have children at this present time and wait until after the peak of the pandemic as the virus rages across the country. Brazil is currently being overwhelmed by a second wave of COVID-19 infections and has the second-highest death toll in the world. The COVID-19 variant, known as P1, was first discovered in Manaus and is thought to be the driving factor behind the number of deaths surpassing 350,000.
Raphael Camara, Secretary of Primary Health Care of the Brazilian health ministry, issued the new advice during a press conference on Friday.
Mr Camara warned studies have suggested the new Brazil variant was “more aggressive” in expectant mothers.
He said: “If possible postpone the pregnancy a bit to a better time so that [they] can have a more peaceful pregnancy.”
The Health chief added: “The clinical view of experts shows that the new variant has a more aggressive action on pregnant women.
“Before, severity was linked to the end of the pregnancy, but now they see a more serious evolution in the second trimester and even in the first trimester.”
Brazil has recorded 13.8 million positive cases of COVID-19 and 368,749 coronavirus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
The current outbreak in Brazil is increasingly affecting younger people.
Hospital data for March showed more than half of all patients in intensive care were aged 40 or younger.
Hospital beds in major cities, including Sao Paulo, are running at 85 percent capacity.
This week, vaccinations also slowed down in several cities due to a shortage of vaccine supply.
Meanwhile, health chiefs in the UK have said pregnant women should be offered a COVID-19 jab at the same time as the rest of the population based on their age and clinical risk group
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said there were “no specific safety concerns” identified with “any brand of COVID-19 vaccines” in relation to pregnancy.
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“There have been no specific safety concerns from any brand of Covid-19 vaccines in relation to pregnancy.
“There are more real-world safety data from the US in relation to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in women who are pregnant – therefore, we advise a preference for these to be offered to pregnant women.”
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, said: “The available data on the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines provide confidence that they can be offered safely to pregnant women.
“The COVID-19 vaccines continue to save thousands of lives and it is important that we encourage as many people as possible to take up the offer when it is their turn.”