Pregnancy, breastfeeding and the coronavirus vaccine

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines have not yet been tested in pregnancy, so until more information is available, people who are pregnant are not routinely being offered the vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recognised that the potential benefits of vaccination are particularly important for some pregnant women.

The coronavirus vaccines do not contain organisms that can multiply in the body, so they cannot infect an unborn baby in the womb. You cannot catch coronavirus from the vaccines.

Vaccination in pregnancy could be considered where either:

  • your risk of exposure to coronavirus is high and cannot be avoided
  • you have underlying medical conditions that put you at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell if you do catch coronavirus

In these circumstances, you should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with your midwife or obstetrician.

If you are pregnant and not in these higher risk groups, you can be vaccinated after your pregnancy is over.

If you find out you're pregnant after you've had the first dose of the vaccine, you should wait until you are no longer pregnant before having the second dose (unless you are a high risk).

Although the vaccine has not been tested in pregnancy, you may decide that the known risks from coronavirus are so clear that you wish to go ahead with vaccination.

There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will affect fertility. You do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.

Breastfeeding advice

 

There is no data on the safety of coronavirus vaccines in breastfeeding or on the breastfed infant.

Coronavirus vaccines are not thought to be a risk through breastfeeding and the benefits of breastfeeding are well known.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that the vaccine can be received while breastfeeding. This is in line with recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO).

If you are breastfeeding or are planning to breastfeed, you may continue breastfeeding after your vaccination.

The COVID-19 vaccine - Pregnancy leaflet, from Public Health Scotland, and COVID-19 vaccine information sheet, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), have more information about the coronavirus vaccination programme if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.