COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy, planning a family, and breastfeeding


Vaccination is the best way to reduce your risk of becoming seriously unwell with COVID-19.

Research from around the world has shown mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna, are safe and effective if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a family.

For more information, read the Frequently asked questions: COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy, planning a family, and breastfeeding (PDF 212KB).


Pregnancy

Those who are pregnant and their unborn baby have a significantly higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 than non-pregnant people:

  • 5 times higher risk of requiring a hospital admission.
  • 2-3 times higher risk of needing treatment in a hospital intensive care unit.
  • 1.5 times higher chance of being born preterm or admission to a special care nursery.

If you are pregnant, you should discuss your COVID-19 vaccination with your health professional.

COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy

It is safe for you to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you are pregnant.

The Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommend that all pregnant women are offered mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna at any stage of pregnancy.

Published research and real-world evidence from other countries has shown that mRNA vaccines are safe for pregnant women. 200,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated in the USA and UK, with no adverse effects on the person, pregnancy or baby.

Protection for your baby

Research shows that the antibodies produced by vaccination cross the placenta and may provide some protection to newborn babies. This is the same for whooping cough and flu vaccines that have been given during pregnancy for many years.

Planning pregnancy

There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines have any impact on fertility.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will not approve a vaccine for use in Australia unless it is safe and effective, including impacts on fertility.

Having the COVID-19 vaccine when you are planning to become pregnant

If you are planning a pregnancy, you can safely receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna. You do not need to avoid becoming pregnant before or after vaccination.

Getting vaccinated before conceiving will give you some protection against COVID-19 throughout your pregnancy, depending on when you were vaccinated.

You are not required to have a pregnancy test before getting vaccinated.

If you had a dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 and then became pregnant

If you received your first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and then become pregnant, you can safely receive the Pfizer or Moderna (mRNA) COVID-19 vaccines for your second dose.

mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna, are the preferred vaccine for pregnancy.

The recommended interval between the first dose of AstraZeneca and the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna is 4 to 12 weeks.

While it is generally recommended that the same vaccine is used for both doses, the reason for a preference for Pfizer or Moderna during pregnancy is due to more information regarding safety of Pfizer and Moderna for pregnant women compared with AstraZeneca.

You and your provider may wish to consider the following factors:

  • There is a growing body of evidence supporting the safety of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy.
  • There is still very limited data on the safety of viral vector vaccines (such as the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine) in pregnancy.
  • There is comparatively less data on the safety and efficacy of mixed vaccine schedules than completing the series with the same vaccine.

Breastfeeding

COVID-19 vaccine and breastfeeding

If you are breastfeeding, you can receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna, at any time. You do not need to stop breastfeeding before or after vaccination.

Protection for your baby

Several small studies have shown that the antibodies induced by the COVID-19 vaccine pass into breastmilk. This may provide your baby with some protection against COVID-19, however, there have not yet been any studies to confirm such protection.

Book your appointment

If you are pregnant, you should discuss your COVID-19 vaccination with your health professional before booking your vaccination appointment.

To book for your first and second dose, visit our booking your appointment page.

Further information

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccines, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website, which also has a range of translated information.

For information about the use of the COVID-19 vaccines in South Australia, visit covidvaccine.sa.gov.au or call the SA COVID-19 Information Line 1800 253 787.

Resources

Australian Government Department of Health

The Royal College of Midwives UK

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

GOV.UK

Australian College of Midwives

Translated information

Australian Government Department of Health