Although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared with non-pregnant people. Severe illness includes illness that requires hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator or special equipment to breathe, or illness that results in death. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes compared with pregnant women without COVID-19.
If you are facing a decision about whether to receive a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant, consider:
- Your risk of exposure to COVID-19
- The risks of severe illness
- The known benefits of vaccination
- The limited but growing evidence about the safety of vaccinations during pregnancy
If you are trying to get pregnant now or plan to try in the future, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine.
There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause female or male fertility problems—problems getting pregnant. CDC does not recommend routine pregnancy testing before COVID-19 vaccination. If you are trying to become pregnant, you do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Like with all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects now and will report findings as they become available.
People Who Are Breastfeeding
Based on how the COVID-19 vaccines work in the body, COVID-19 vaccines are thought not to be a risk to lactating people or their breastfeeding babies. Therefore, lactating people can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies. More data are needed to determine what protection these antibodies may provide to the baby.
Potential COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects
Side effects can occur after receiving any of the available COVID-19 vaccines, especially after the second dose for vaccines that require two doses. Pregnant people have not reported different side effects from non-pregnant people after vaccination with mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines). If you experience fever following vaccination you should take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) because fever —for any reason— has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Learn more about what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine on the CDC website.
Although rare, some people have had allergic reactions after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have a history of allergic reaction to any other vaccine or injectable therapy (intramuscular, intravenous, or subcutaneous).
Key considerations you can discuss with your healthcare provider include:
- The unknown risks of developing a severe allergic reaction
- The benefits of vaccination
If you have an allergic reaction after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy, you can receive treatment for it.
What’s the difference between the Moderna, Pfizer, and J&J vaccines?
The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are mRNA vaccines that do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and therefore, cannot give someone COVID-19. Additionally, mRNA vaccines do not interact with a person’s DNA or cause genetic changes because the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.
The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine* is a viral vector vaccine, meaning it uses a modified version of a different virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to our cells. Vaccines that use the same viral vector have been given to pregnant people in all trimesters of pregnancy, including in a large-scale Ebola vaccination trial. No adverse pregnancy-related outcomes, including adverse outcomes that affected the infant, were associated with vaccination in these trials. Learn more about how viral vector vaccines work.
Locations with Free COVID-19 Vaccinations
The following locations will be distributing free COVID-19 vaccinations while they have supplies. For more information, call the location to confirm they have vaccinations and make an appointment to get your COVID-19 shot.