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Brazil suspends AstraZeneca use in pregnant women

Brazil's federal government suspended use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women nationally on Tuesday (May 11).

The move came after an expectant mother in Rio de Janeiro died from a stroke, possibly related to the inoculation.

Franciele Fontana, the coordinator of the health ministry's vaccination program told reporters the national suspension was a precautionary measure after health regulator Anvisa issued a warning, but she stressed the death of the 23-week pregnant woman is a "rare incident."

Anvisa also said it had not been informed of any other adverse events in pregnant women receiving the vaccine.

The suspension applies only to AstraZeneca's shot and not to vaccines developed by Sinovac and Pfizer that are also being used in the country.

AstraZeneca said in a statement that pregnant women and those breastfeeding were excluded from clinical trials of its COVID-19 vaccine.

The national decision to suspend the vaccine's use in pregnant women followed similar calls made by Rio and Sao Paulo states earlier in the day.

Brazil has recorded the world's second deadliest outbreak of COVID-19, with the health ministry reporting on Tuesday that the death toll had risen to over 425,000.