Published research and real-world evidence from other countries has shown that mRNA vaccines are safe for pregnant women. Over 200,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated in the USA and UK, with no adverse effects on the person, pregnancy or baby.
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.1-4
The current evidence across the world does not show an increased risk of miscarriage or stillbirth following vaccination against COVID-19.5 There is also no pattern from the reports to suggest that any of the current COVID-19 vaccines increase the risk of congenital anomalies or birth complications.5
COVID-19 vaccines do not cause infection, including in pregnant people or their babies.6 None of the licensed and available COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, so a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make anyone sick with COVID-19, including pregnant people or their babies.5,6
Vaccination is the best way to reduce your risk of becoming seriously unwell with COVID-19. 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.1,2
Pregnant people with COVID-19 have a higher risk of stillbirth or premature (early) delivery. Their babies are also more likely to show distress during delivery, or to need treatment in a newborn intensive care unit. COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy may reduce the risk of premature delivery of the baby, if it prevents infection in the mother.2
Research shows that the antibodies produced by vaccination cross the placenta and may provide some protection to newborn babies.1 This is the same for whooping cough and flu vaccines that have been given during pregnancy for many years.1
COVID-19 vaccination may also provide indirect protection to babies by transferring antibodies through the placenta during pregnancy or through breastmilk while breastfeeding.2,5,6