It’s strongly recommended that you get vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19) if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you’re pregnant

If you’re pregnant, it’s important to get vaccinated to protect you and your baby.

You’re at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you’re pregnant. If you get COVID-19 late in your pregnancy, your baby could also be at risk.

If you have not had a COVID-19 vaccine yet, it’s recommended to get your first 2 doses as soon as possible. You do not need to delay vaccination until after you have given birth.

It’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. This is because these vaccines have been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and no safety concerns have been identified.

If you’ve already had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for your 1st dose and did not have any serious side effects, you should have it again for your 2nd dose.

If you had a 2nd dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 3 months ago, you can get a booster dose.

The vaccines cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

If you’re breastfeeding

You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccines and cannot pass it to your baby through your breast milk.

If you’re breastfeeding, the vaccines you can have depends on your age:

  • if you’re 40 or over, you can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines
  • if you’re under 40 and do not have a health condition that increases your risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, it’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine

The Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines are preferable in people under 40 because of an extremely rare blood clotting problem linked to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccine side effects

Fertility and COVID-19 vaccination

Medical experts and scientists agree that it is not possible for the vaccines to affect fertility.

There have been a lot of rumours that the vaccines could affect fertility but these are not true.

Here’s why:

  • There is no scientific process by which the vaccines could affect women’s fertility.
  • Like all vaccines, the covid-19 vaccines teach your body to fight the disease and to develop antibodies to do this. They do not have any ingredients that would affect fertility and the components leave the body within a few days.
  • There is no evidence to support the theory that immunity to the spike protein could lead to fertility problems. Most people who contract COVID-19 will develop antibodies to the spike and there has not been any evidence of fertility problems in people who have had COVID-19.
  • It is standard practice for new medicines not to be recommended for pregnant women or those planning a pregnancy when they are first issued. Now that more data is available, the independent body responsible for assessing the safety of vaccines (the Joint Committee for Vaccinations & Immunisations), has updated its advice and says there is no need for women to delay pregnancy after having either vaccine.

These videos may help you make a decision whether or not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.


Getting your vaccine

You can book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or call 119 for free.

If you’re under 40, you’ll only be offered appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

If you’re 40 or over, you’ll be asked if you’re pregnant to make sure you’re only shown appointments for these vaccines.

Find out where you can have your vaccine in:

There are also walk-in sessions across Sussex where you can get your 1st, 2nd or booster vaccine with no appointment needed, including at or near hospital sites, so you can pop in at the same time as having other check ups. Check out the full list of dates and locations.

FAQs

I’m pregnant, how can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

You can book yourself an appointment through the National Booking Service, or you can attend a walk-in session at a vaccination centre without an appointment if you prefer.

Is COVID-19 disease serious in pregnancy?

Although the overall risk from COVID-19 disease in pregnant women and their new babies is low, in later pregnancy some women may become seriously unwell and need hospital treatment.

Pregnant women with COVID-19 have a higher risk of intensive care admission than women of the same age who are not pregnant. Women with COVID-19 are also two to three times more likely to have their babies early than women who do not have the illness. Recent data showed that pregnant women who have underlying clinical conditions, have a BMI over 20, are from a black or minority ethnic background and are over 35 have an even higher risk of suffering serious complications from COVID-19.

Which vaccines are available to pregnant women?

Pregnant women are being offered the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, because they’ve been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries.

None of the vaccines available in England contain live coronavirus, so they cannot infect you or your baby.

There is no evidence so far to suggest that any COVID-19 vaccines used in England are unsafe for pregnant women, and there is no evidence that they will cause any problems for women wanting to become pregnant in the future.

I’m pregnant and have already had my first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine. Should I
have my second dose?

If you have already received a first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and didn’t experience any serious side effects, then you can continue to receive a second dose. Serious side effects from this vaccine are thankfully very rare and even less likely in the second dose.

Alternatively, you can have Pfizer or Moderna for your second dose.

I’m pregnant and have had my first two jabs – is it safe to also get a booster?

Yes – the latest evidence shows COVID-19 can make you seriously unwell and a booster will maximise your protection. It is recommended that you get your booster 3 months after your second dose, and you can book an appointment through the National Booking Service, or attend a walk-in and get your jab.

I’m breastfeeding, can I have the vaccine?

If you are breastfeeding, you can receive any of the Covid-19 vaccines available. You do not need to stop breastfeeding when you get the vaccine. None of the vaccines contain virus that can reproduce inside your body or spread to your breastmilk. You should be reassured that by receiving the vaccine, you are protecting yourself while continuing to provide your baby with the benefits of breastfeeding.

Will the vaccine give me or my baby COVID-19?

You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccines because they do not contain live coronavirus. There are no additional ingredients that are harmful to pregnant women or their babies in the vaccine.

Can I try for a baby after being vaccinated?

If you are trying to conceive, this should not affect your decision about vaccination. There is no evidence that the vaccines cause problems with fertility, or that they will cause any problems for women wanting to become pregnant now or in the future.

Further information