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. 

Vaccination schedule

For people aged 18 to 64 who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy:

  • Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
    • Two doses, eight weeks apart
    • A booster dose three months after your second dose
  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (only available at GPs and pharmacies)
    • Two doses, eight weeks apart
    • A booster dose three months after your second dose

For people aged 18 to 64 with severe immunocompromise who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy:

  • A third dose is recommended, two months after the second dose
  • A booster dose three months after your third dose

If you cannot access an mRNA vaccine, you can consider vaccination with AstraZeneca or Novavax if the benefits outweigh the potential risks.

Find out what to expect before, during and after your vaccination appointment.


Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, you and your 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 to 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.

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

Pregnant people can safely receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna, at any stage of pregnancy.

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

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.

If you are planning a pregnancy, you can safely receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, such as Pfizer or Moderna. 

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

You do not need to avoid becoming pregnant before or after vaccination.

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

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.

Why should I get vaccinated?

The vaccines work by teaching your body to fight illness so that you don’t get sick or your symptoms aren’t as bad if you do get sick.

Having the vaccine means you will be less likely to catch COVID-19 and pass it on to others.
There is still a chance that you will catch COVID-19, but if you do, you are likely to have no symptoms or mild symptoms.

If you’re still undecided, there are a range of resources available to help you make your choice:

Safety and efficacy

All age groups are given the same safe and effective vaccine, which is given at a different dose depending on age.

The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, providing protection against existing variants including Delta and Omicron.

The vaccines have been tested extensively in clinical trials, including clinical trials on pregnant women. Data from clinical trials and real-world data show that vaccination does not increase the chances of pregnancy complications such as premature delivery, stillbirth, small for gestational age infants and birth defects.

Side effects

You might experience some side effects after your vaccine, but these are usually mild and only last for a couple of days. This might include pain, redness or swelling, a headache, or a fever. This is very normal.

Studies from around the world have not found any side effects specific to pregnancy or birth.

Use the COVID-19 vaccine side effects symptom checker if you have concerns about any symptoms after your vaccine. Alternatively, you can call the National COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline on 1800 020 080.

Underlying medical conditions and allergies

Older adults with an underlying medical condition should speak with their GP or treating specialist about getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

It is important that you get vaccinated as soon as possible to significantly reduce your risk of COVID-19 infection, illness or hospitalisation.

Your GP or treating specialist may refer you the South Australia COVID-19 Specialist Immunisation Clinic (SACSIC) at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. All referrals must be made by your GP or treating specialist using the SACSIC Referral Form (PDF 52KB). Criteria for referral are listed on the form.

For further information about the importance of vaccination, read the Allergy, Immunodeficiency, Autoimmunity and COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs.

Vaccination after COVID-19 infection

If you have had COVID-19 you should wait to be vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine for 3 months after the confirmed infection.

This is to optimise your vaccine protection. A longer gap between infection and vaccination is likely to lead to a better immune response and result in longer protection from reinfection.

The next scheduled dose of COVID-19 vaccine should be given as soon as possible after 3 months. You should still have all the recommended doses.

If you have had COVID-19, you do not need to defer other vaccinations – for example, your flu vaccine. But you should not get any vaccine if you are acutely unwell (e.g., you have a fever).