COVID Vaccine and Pregnancy Update Sept 21

8 September 2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Advice Update

The current advice is not to delay vaccination: The Ministry of Health encourages people who are pregnant to get a COVID-19 vaccine as part of Group 3 at any stage of their pregnancy. 

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) have updated their advice, which matches the advice issued by the New Zealand Ministry of Health.

  • RANZCOG and ATAGI recommend that pregnant women are routinely offered Pfizer vaccine at any stage of pregnancy.
  • This is because the risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 is significantly higher for pregnant women and their unborn baby than for woman who are not pregnant.
  • Global data from large numbers of pregnant women have not identified any significant safety concerns with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines given at any stage of pregnancy.
  • There is also evidence of antibody to Covid in cord blood and breastmilk, which may offer protection to infants through passive immunity.
  • Pregnant women are encouraged to discuss the decision about the timing of their vaccination with their health professional. Women who are trying to become pregnant do not need to delay vaccination or avoid becoming pregnant after vaccination.
  • More info can be found here:

Watch our Video below with Dr Olivia StuartCOVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy, fertility and breastfeeding.


Why is this advice being updated

t the start of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out, recommendations were cautious about pregnant women being vaccinated because there was little clinical or safety data because pregnant women were excluded from COVID vaccine trials.  Since then, we have the following information.

  • Increasing evidence that pregnant women have worse outcomes after infection with COVID-19
  • More data from overseas on the safe use of the vaccine during pregnancy.  There are randomised controlled trials underway but their results may not be available for some time.
  • A recommendation from other countries (Canada, UK and USA) for routine use of COVID vaccines during pregnancy.
  • Concern that with borders opening, the community risk of Covid exposure and infection could suddenly change.

Public health experts want to avoid potentially mixed messages about advising delay until after pregnancy and at the same time making pregnant women in New Zealand a priority group for the vaccine.

Useful links