COVID-19 Infection and Vaccination during Pregnancy Summary
Currently, available data suggests that symptomatic pregnant patients with COVID-19 are at increased risk of more severe illness compared with non-pregnant peers.
Even though the risk for severe COVID-19 is low, these data indicate an increased risk of need for ICU admission and ventilatory support in pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19 infection, when compared with symptomatic non-pregnant females. Pregnant patients with comorbidities such as obesity and diabetes may be at an even higher risk of severe illness consistent with the general population with similar comorbidities.
COVID-19 vaccine development and regulatory approvals are moving rapidly. Consequently, information and recommendations will evolve and be updated as more data is collected about these vaccines and their use in specific populations. Pregnant patients were not part of the initial COVID-19 studies.
On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNtech mRNA vaccine (BNT162b2) for use in individuals age 16 years and older as a 2-dose regimen given 3 weeks apart. This vaccine has shown to be 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 illness after the second dose.
Vaccination During Pregnancy
The current vaccine is a mRNA vaccine, not a live virus vaccine. It does not use an adjuvant to enhance vaccine efficacy. These vaccines do not enter the inside of the human cells and it does not alter human DNA in vaccine recipients. As a result, mRNA vaccines cannot cause any genetic changes.
ACOG recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination based on ACIP-recommended priority groups.
COVID-19 vaccines should be offered to lactating individuals similar to non-lactating individuals when they meet criteria for receipt of the vaccine based on prioritization groups outlined by the ACIP. If you received the vaccine before pregnancy or during pregnancy, you may still breastfeed.