Which COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant women?
There are 3 COVID-19 vaccines registered for use in Australia:
- Pfizer – 2 doses
- Moderna – 2 doses
- AstraZeneca – 2 doses.
In Australia, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the preferred vaccines for adults under the age of 60 years, as well as for pregnant women.
If you’re pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding, you can also consider the AstraZeneca vaccine if you can’t get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. In this situation, talk to your GP, obstetrician, midwife or child and family nurse about what’s best for you and your baby.
It’s best to get information about vaccinations from reliable and credible sources. The recommendations in this article are reliable because they’re based on the advice of experts from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
You’re pregnant: COVID-19 vaccination recommendations
If you’re pregnant, COVID-19 vaccination with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is recommended. You can have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at any stage of your pregnancy.
If you had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine before getting pregnant, you should have a second COVID-19 vaccination during your pregnancy. This dose can either be another dose of AstraZeneca or the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
Large numbers of pregnant women across the world have now received COVID-19 vaccination. There have been no safety concerns for the women or their babies.
There’s also evidence that vaccinated pregnant women pass on antibodies to their babies. So if you get vaccinated, your baby might have some protection from COVID-19 too.
If you have concerns, talk with your GP, obstetrician, midwife or immunisation provider. These health professionals can give you more information about COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy and answer any questions you have.
It’s important for pregnant women to get a COVID-19 vaccination. If pregnant women get COVID-19, they’re at a higher risk of severe complications than women who aren’t pregnant. Pregnant women are more likely to need hospitalisation and intensive care treatment than non-pregnant women. They also have an increased risk of giving birth prematurely.
You’re pregnant: protecting yourself against COVID-19
All pregnant women should take simple protective measures against COVID-19, particularly if they’re not vaccinated. These measures include:
- maintaining physical distancing, including staying 1.5-2 m away from people you don’t live with if you can
- using good hand and personal hygiene
- wearing face masks if recommended or required by your state or territory health authorities
- following lockdown rules as required by your state or territory health authorities.
If your work puts you at high risk of exposure to COVID-19, you might consider asking to be reassigned to lower-risk duties.
Planning a pregnancy: COVID-19 vaccination recommendations
If you’re planning a pregnancy, COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for you and your partner, if you have one.
You can keep trying to get pregnant before and after vaccination.
If you get pregnant after being fully vaccinated, you have no increased risk of pregnancy complications. There are also no increased health risks for your baby.
If you get pregnant after your first dose, you can still have your second dose at the recommended time.
If you have any concerns about getting vaccinated while planning a pregnancy, talk with your doctor or immunisation provider.
Breastfeeding: COVID-19 vaccination recommendations
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for breastfeeding women. COVID-19 vaccination is considered safe for women who are breastfeeding and their babies.
There’s also evidence that after vaccination, breastfeeding women might pass on antibodies to their babies through breastmilk. This means if you get vaccinated, your baby might have some protection against COVID-19.
If you have any concerns, you should discuss these with your GP, child and family health nurse or immunisation provider.
Why COVID-19 vaccination is important
COVID-19 vaccination prevents people from getting severe complications or dying from COVID-19.
If enough people in the community are vaccinated against COVID-19, it builds herd immunity. This means the virus spread slows down or stops because there aren’t enough people for the virus to infect. Herd immunity helps to protect people who can’t be vaccinated, including people who are more likely to get complications from COVID-19.
And if fewer people get sick or get very sick, people can go to work and school. There’s less strain on our health and hospital system. And we can get on with our daily lives more easily.
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Australia is happening in phases, based on priority according to age, increased risk of COVID-19 exposure, and medical conditions including pregnancy. Use the Australian Government Department of Health’s vaccine clinic finder to find out when and where you can get vaccinated.