Pregnancy and Covid 19 vaccinations.
New data published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has provided further evidence for the safety of COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy, with good birth outcomes in vaccinated women who had their babies between January and August this year.
This is in contrast with growing evidence that pregnant women are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant women, particularly in the third trimester. Recent data shows that between July and October, nearly 20% of the most critically ill patients receiving Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) support in England were unvaccinated pregnant women. Around one in three women who are hospitalised with the virus need to be delivered preterm to help them recover and one in five of their babies need care in the neonatal unit.
On Monday the JCVI also recommended that booster vaccinations are offered to all adults from 3 months after their second dose, in order to increase levels of public protection against the Omicron variant.
If you’re pregnant and have not had a COVID-19 vaccine yet, it’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. This is because these vaccines have been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and no safety concerns have been identified.
If you’ve already had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for your 1st dose and did not have any serious side effects, you should have it again for your 2nd dose. The vaccines cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.
You’ll be able to discuss the benefits and potential risks of having a COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy at your vaccination appointment.
You can also speak to a GP or your maternity team for advice.
If you’re breastfeeding
You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccines and cannot pass it to your baby through your breast milk.
If you’re breastfeeding, the vaccines you can have depend on your age:
- if you’re 40 or over, you can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines
- if you’re under 40 and do not have a health condition that increases your risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, it’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine
The Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines are preferable in people under 40 because of an extremely rare blood clotting problem linked to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Fertility and Covid 19 vaccinations
There’s no evidence the COVID-19 vaccines have any effect on your chances of becoming pregnant.
There’s no need to avoid getting pregnant after being vaccinated.
- GOV.UK: COVID-19 vaccine advice if you’re pregnant, may get pregnant or are breastfeeding
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: COVID-19 vaccines, pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility