Pregnant & Breastfeeding Women and COVID-19 Vaccines

Authored by
Staff
Last reviewed
May 14, 2021

Pregnant & Breastfeeding Women and COVID-19 Vaccines

The vaccine regulatory agencies in the United States, Europe, and globally have published various recommendations for women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, and women breastfeeding their child during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) COVID-19 vaccines can be administered to these women after consulting with their healthcare provider. Like any Emergency Authorized vaccine, COVID-19 vaccines cause various side effects.

As of May 14, 2021, the U.S. FDA has not Approved any COVID-19 vaccine.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As of May 2021, the CDC had issued three emergency authorizations: the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna, and COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine.

Getting vaccinated is a personal choice. Any of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines can be offered to pregnant or breastfeeding people, says the CDC

There is currently no evidence that antibodies formed from a COVID-19 vaccination cause problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. However, data are limited about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant. The CDC established the V-Safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry to learn more about side effect issues.

The CDC reports (99) pregnant women with COVID-19 have died between January 22, 2020 - May 3, 2021.

European Medicines Agency

As of April 2021, the EMA has issued four emergency authorizations: Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna, Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca), and COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines. These COVID-19 vaccines have published specific information for women. The EMA releases monthly safety updates for each authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

Other COVID-19 Vaccines

Additional COVID-19 vaccines are in use globally, such as Sputnik V and Corvaxin, and CoviShield vaccines, with about ninety others in various stages of a clinical study according to GAVI.org.

Pregnant & Breastfeeding Women:  COVID-19 Vaccine Research-Based News

May 13, 2021 - The Lancet published an exploratory analysis of a convenience sample, receipt of a COVID-19 messenger RNA vaccine was immunogenic in pregnant women, and vaccine-elicited antibodies were transported to infant cord blood and breast milk. Pregnant and nonpregnant women who were vaccinated developed cross-reactive antibody responses and T-cell responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.

May 11, 2021 - Study: In-Hospital Mortality in a Cohort of Hospitalized Pregnant and Nonpregnant Patients With COVID-19. Overall and within multiple subgroups, we found a substantially lower rate of in-hospital mortality in pregnant patients than nonpregnant patients hospitalized with COVID-19 and viral pneumonia.

April 29, 2021 - Infants born to women with COVID-19 have a low chance of contracting the disease from their mothers, according to a study published in JAMA. "Our study suggests that mother and baby can be cared for together and that nursing can be recommended without danger to the baby's health," concluded first study author Mikael Norman, MD, in a Karolinska Institutet press release.

April 21, 2021 - The NEJM Original Article: Preliminary Findings of mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine Safety in Pregnant Persons. CONCLUSIONS: Preliminary findings did not show obvious safety signals among pregnant persons who received mRNA Covid-19 vaccines. However, more longitudinal follow-up, including follow-up of large numbers of women vaccinated earlier in pregnancy, is necessary to inform maternal pregnancy and infant outcomes.

March 24, 2021 - This Practice Advisory was developed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Immunization, Infectious Disease, and Public Health Preparedness Expert Work Group. Information and recommendations will evolve as more data are collected about these vaccines and guidance for their use in pregnant and lactating patients.

February 9, 2021 - Emer Cooke, EMA Executive Director and Chair of the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities, published a Pregnancy and Lactation Workshop.

Note: This information has been aggregated from the US CDC, US FDA, WHO, EMA, and other research-based organizations.