COVID-19 Vaccine Update - 03 March 21

3 March 2021

Latest Advice re COVID-19 Vaccine and Pregnancy

We have taken advice from RANZCOG (The Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists) about the COVID-19 Vaccine and Pregnancy/Fertility.

Summary: All available evidence on the COVID-19 vaccine and experience with vaccines in general indicates there is no reason to delay a vaccine while trying to become pregnant. 

  • For women who are pregnant and are at higher risk for an adverse reaction if infected with COVID-19, the vaccine is recommended.
  • For those without associated risk factors, the current guidance from RANZCOG is to wait to be vaccinated until there is more data available. 
  • In the absence of evidence on the safety or efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women, the decision to receive vaccination rests solely with the pregnant woman following informed consultation with her midwife and/or doctor.

Webinar - COVID Vaccine for Pregnancy and Breast Feeding & Fertility - recording can be found here. 

More detail: 

The following advice takes into consideration: the low level of community transmission in Australia and New Zealand, which means RANZCOG is taking a more conservative approach to vaccination during pregnancy than similar groups in countries with high rates of community transmission.

It is expected that the large majority of pregnant women infected with COVID-19 will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu like symptoms. However, pregnant women are potentially at increased risk of complications from any respiratory disease due to the physiological changes that occur in pregnancy. These include reduced lung function, increased oxygen consumption and changed immunity. In particular, pregnant women with co-morbidities are at higher risk of hospital admission, ventilation and severe illness.

Based on known data from other similar vaccines, it is unlikely that COVID-19 vaccines pose a risk to a pregnant woman or her fetus. However, as pregnant and breastfeeding women have not been included in initial trials, data are very limited and our current knowledge is based on inadvertently exposed patients and the impact of the disease in an unvaccinated population.

Although the available data do not indicate any safety concern or harm to pregnancy, there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine use of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy.  However, if a pregnant woman meets the definition of being particularly vulnerable, then she should discuss the option of COVID-19 vaccination with her obstetrician, GP and/or midwife. This is based on the observation that people with certain underlying medical conditions are at very high risk of experiencing serious complications of COVID-19.

The most likely relevant groups of pregnant women include:

  • Significant pre-existing medical conditions e.g. diabetes
  • Solid organ transplant recipients
  • Those with chronic respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis and severe asthma
  • Those who have homozygous sickle cell disease
  • Those receiving immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • Those receiving dialysis or with advanced chronic kidney disease
  • Those with significant congenital or acquired heart disease

If you have further questions please contact your doctor/midwife or obstetrician. More reading can be found here the RANZCOG website