Absolutely. Pregnant health and care workers and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable have been able to get the vaccine since it’s been available. Since 16 April 2021, it’s been made available to all pregnant women in their age group order, so now anyone who is over 18 can get the vaccine.
Absolutely. It’s the best, most effective way to protect you and your baby, particularly during the third trimester when women who contract COVID are far more likely to have severe symptoms, which could put them and their baby at risk.
Increasing numbers of younger people, including pregnant women, are being admitted to hospital with COVID symptoms. The vast majority have not been vaccinated. Pregnant women who get COVID in the last trimester are at greater risk of severe illness, which puts them and their baby at risk. Risk of stillbirth for women doubles for women with COVID, while risk of having a preterm birth trebles. There’s also increased risk of having an emergency caesarian section. Getting vaccinated against COVID can protect you and your baby.
Since December 2020, the USA has been providing the vaccine to pregnant women. This means that we now have data from over 130,000 pregnant women who have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. This real-life data hasn’t flagged any harm to the woman or baby from the vaccine during pregnancy. Similarly, in the UK, tens of thousands of pregnant women have received at least one dose of one of the vaccines, with no adverse incidents reported.
The COVID-19 vaccines that we are using in the UK are not ‘live’ vaccines and so cannot cause COVID-19 infection in you or your baby.
Ideally, you should try to get both doses before your due date, even better if it’s before the third trimester when COVID has higher risk for pregnant women. The vaccine starts to offer protection within around three weeks of the first dose, with maximum protection after the second dose. That’s why it’s important to get both doses. There is an eight to 12 week gap between doses, although this may be reviewed by the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisation (JCVI).
In the UK, pregnant women will be offered either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.
Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects, but they are usually mild and do not last long. Very common side effects in the first day or two after your vaccine include: pain or tenderness in your arm where you had your injection, feeling tired and headaches, aches and chills.
Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from experiencing the severe symptoms of COVID-19. There is absolutely no impact on your pregnancy – or your fertility – from getting the vaccine, and being vaccinated will protect you through your pregnancy too.
Yes. There is no way by which any vaccine ingredient could pass to a breastfed baby through breast milk. There is no need for women to stop breastfeeding to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
As of April 2021, pregnancy status is recorded in the national vaccination programme to make sure pregnant women and their babies’ outcomes can be followed up.
Pregnant health and care workers and women who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and were likely to be shielding, were offered the vaccine from the beginning of the vaccination programme. This was because of their increased risk of exposure to the virus or because contracting COVID could put them at increased risk of serious illness or even death. Having the vaccine early means you have had greater protection from COVID than other pregnant women, who only began receiving the vaccine in April 2021.