Advice if you're of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding

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I’m pregnant, will I be offered the COVID-19 vaccination?

27th April 2021

Yes, all pregnant women who are in the eligible group should receive their vaccination as soon as possible. Pregnant women will be offered either the Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna vaccine.

Evidence so far reviewed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the UK regulatory agency responsible for licencing medicines including vaccines, has raised no concerns for safety in pregnancy.

The vaccine does not contain live SARS-CoV-2 virus and therefore cannot cause COVID-19 infection to a pregnant woman or in her baby. Some COVID-19 vaccines contain a different harmless virus to help deliver the vaccine – whilst this virus is live, it cannot reproduce and so will not cause infection in a pregnant woman or her baby.

 

 

Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women?

23rd February 2021

The COVID-19 vaccines available in the UK have been shown to be effective and to have a good safety profile. The early COVID-19 vaccines do not contain organisms that can multiply in the body, so they cannot infect an unborn baby in the womb. Pregnant women were not included in the COVID-19 vaccine trials but that does not mean they are unsafe. 

While there are myths on social media that the vaccine can affect fertility, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the vaccine affects fertility or the ability to carry a child to full term.

During the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine study, there were 23 study participants who became pregnant during their vaccine trial. There was one pregnancy loss, but this was in a participant who received the placebo, not the vaccine.

The antibodies produced against the Covid-19 spike protein following immunisation will not block syncitin-1 – the protein critical for the placenta to remain attached to the uterus. While the Covid-19 spike protein shares several amino acids in common with syncitin-1, it is significantly different enough for the antibodies to recognise and block this critical placental binding protein. It should be also acknowledged that this vaccine is not a ‘live’ vaccine and there is no known risk associated with giving other non-live vaccines.

While there is no evidence that acute Covid-19 infections themselves cause infertility in the short- or long-term, there has been evidence that the acute viral infection can lead to orchitis, or inflammation of the testicles. This would not be unique to SARS-CoV-2, as other viruses such as mumps, hepatitis, and Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) can cause acute inflammation, and later scarring, of the testicles.

Some pregnant women who have contracted Covid-19 have died and/or suffered fetal loss as a result of acute Covid-19 infections therefore pregnant women who are frontline health or social care workers, including carers in a residential home, can also discuss the option of vaccination. This is because the risk of exposure to COVID-19 may be higher, even if they have a lower risk of experiencing complications if they are otherwise well. The JCVI also now advises that there is no known risk in giving these vaccines to breastfeeding women.

I am trying to get pregnant, can I get the COVID-19 vaccination?

27th April 2021

The JCVI advise that women do not need to avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination.

When offered the vaccine, getting vaccinated before pregnancy will help prevent COVID-19 infection and its serious consequences.

 

What happens if I become pregnant after my first dose of the vaccination?

27th April 2021

If you do become pregnant after your first dose of the vaccination you should continue to attend your second dose appointment. If you have concerns you should speak to your midwife or GP.

I’m breastfeeding, can I get the COVID-19 vaccination?

27th April 2021

Women who are breastfeeding should receive the vaccine when invited.

JCVI has recommended that the vaccine can be received whilst breastfeeding. This is in line with recommendations in the US and from the World Health Organization.

 

Useful information and resources:

Take a look at this information sheet , which clears all myths and misinformation. You can also watch videos here from The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists clinicians Dr Jo Mountfield, Dr Christine Ekechi and Dr Brooke Vandermolen