Can pregnant people receive the COVID-19 vaccination?


A: YES. The Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, and Pfizer vaccines are available to pregnant people in the US. A growing pool of evidence support vaccine safety for both pregnant people and babies.

Many pregnant people have received the mRNA vaccine without evidence of unexpected adverse responses. Recent findings from a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine did not demonstrate any safety concerns among pregnant people who received the mRNA vaccine. This study utilized data from the US “v-safe after vaccination health checker” surveillance system, the v-safe pregnancy registry, and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) from December to February of 2021. 35,691 v-safe participants who had received a vaccine dose identified as pregnant. 4,804 people in the sample reported getting pregnant after receiving the first dose of the vaccine. Rates of pregnancy loss, preterm birth, small size for gestational age, and congenital abnormalities among vaccinated pregnant people who completed their pregnancies (827 in total) were similar to the published incidence of these events in studies done before the COVID-19 pandemic. Since many pregnant people in this cohort still have some time before the babies are due to arrive, this work is ongoing. In another study, 23 people reported becoming pregnant after participating in the Pfizer mRNA vaccine clinical trial. No adverse events were reported among the participants who became pregnant who also received the vaccine in the trial.

Vaccination during pregnancy provides protection to both pregnant people and their babies. Pregnant or lactating people pass some immunity to babies via the placenta and breastmilk. Immunity passed after vaccination was higher than immunity passed by people who had COVID-19 infection during pregnancy. Antibodies resulting from the vaccine were found in all breastmilk and umbilical cord blood samples.

COVID-19 infection during pregnancy can be dangerous. There is evidence that pregnant people are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Pregnant people with COVID-19 are at an increased risk of hospitalization and ICU admission compared to those who are not pregnant. COVID-19 infection poses risks to both the pregnant person and the unborn fetus.

Concerns surrounding COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy are sensitive and should be taken seriously. If you have questions, reach out to your healthcare team. To date, no studies suggest the COVID-19 vaccinations negatively affect pregnancy. As new information becomes available, Those Nerdy Girls will continue to provide up-to-date information.

Those Nerdy Girls

Additional Reading:

National Geographic Summary

New England Journal of Medicine Vaccine Safety in Pregnant Persons

American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Vaccine Response in Pregnant and Lactating People

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