COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy and breastfeeding
Pregnant people are encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at any stage of pregnancy.
In pregnancy, the risk of severe COVID-19 complications is much higher than in people of the same age who are not pregnant. Data from the UK found that one in four pregnant women hospitalised with COVID-19 had pneumonia and one in five required support with breathing. Older mothers-to-be and those with other health conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes or obesity are at even higher risk from COVID-19. The recommendation to be vaccinated aligns with those in other countries and is based on international evidence from a large number of people who have already received mRNA COVID vaccines when pregnant. No additional safety concerns have been shown. There is also increasing evidence that antibodies made by the mother after vaccination are shared with her infant.
As with all vaccines on the New Zealand Immunisation Schedule, there are no safety concerns about giving Pfizer or AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to women who are breastfeeding. By being vaccinated, mothers can provide some protection against COVID-19 for their babies in breastmilk.
Booster doses in pregnancy
Pregnant women/people aged from 18 years can receive a booster dose of Pfizer or AstraZeneca COVID vaccine at any stage of pregnancy, from three or more months after a primary course. Comirnaty is the preferred vaccine for use during pregnancy.
- Pregnancy fact sheet
- Pregnancy COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccination health professionals factsheet
- Ministry of Health's information on pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Medsafe: no safety concerns in getting vaccinated during pregnancy
- Shimabukuro TT, Kim SY, Myers TR, et al. Preliminary Findings of mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine Safety in Pregnant Persons. N Engl J Med. 2021 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa21049
- Vousden N, Ramakrishnan R, Bunch K, et al (2021 preprint). Impact of SARS-CoV-2 variant on the severity of maternal infection and perinatal outcomes: Data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System national cohort. medRxiv, 2021.2007.2022.21261000. 10.1101/2021.07.22.21261000