Getting a coronavirus vaccine during pregnancy, breastfeeding or when trying to conceive
You can get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you’re aged 16 or over and:
- you’re pregnant or think you might be
- you’re breastfeeding
- you’re trying for a baby or might get pregnant in the future
You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccines and cannot pass it to your baby through your breast milk. Evidence suggests that coronavirus antibodies can be transferred to your baby through your breastmilk or umbilical cord following the vaccine, giving your baby immunity to COVID-19.
If you’re over the age of 40 and breastfeeding, you can have any of the vaccines. If you’re under 40, you should have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
If you’re pregnant and haven’t yet had your first dose, it’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine regardless of your age. This is because these vaccines have been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and no safety concerns have been identified.
If you’ve already had your first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and did not have any serious side effects, then you should have this again for your second dose.
If you have any concerns about getting the vaccine during pregnancy, you can talk to a GP, your health visitor or maternity team for advice.
You can book your vaccination here.
If you’re under 40, you’ll only be shown appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. If you’re 40 or over, you’ll be asked if you’re pregnant to make sure you’re only shown appointments for these vaccines. When you arrive at your vaccine appointment, please tell the vaccination team that you are pregnant so that this can be recorded.
The vaccines cannot give you or your baby COVID-19. There’s no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines have any effect on your fertility, and there’s no concern if you do get pregnant after being vaccinated. Fertility treatment is not affected by the vaccine. If you wish to discuss this further, speak to a health professional at the fertility clinic.
Coronavirus during pregnancy
About two-thirds of women who test positive for COVID-19 in pregnancy have no symptoms at all. However, some pregnant women can get life-threatening illness from COVID-19 – particularly if they have underlying health conditions.
Hospital admission and severe illness may be more common in pregnant women (compared to those who are not pregnant), especially those in the third trimester of pregnancy, and stillbirth and preterm birth is more likely (compared to pregnant women without COVID-19).
Watch this short animation by the IMPRINT network on the use of COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant and breastfeeding women:
Testing of the coronavirus vaccines in pregnant women
Although COVID-19 vaccines have been given to large numbers of people to ensure they meet stringent standards of effectiveness and safety, there is limited UK data on COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy.
Monitoring from the United States, where more than 100,000 pregnant women have had a COVID-19 vaccine (using Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccines), has not raised any safety concerns. More information may come from studies in the future. Future studies in pregnancy will give us more information on how effective the vaccine is in pregnancy, and on pregnancy outcomes after vaccination. There have not been any signals to suggest safety concerns so far.
It is up to you to make an informed choice about whether you’d like to get the vaccine or wait until more data becomes available. You may find this leaflet from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists helpful to aid your decision:
In this video, an expert panel from the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, the NHS and Public Health England answer questions about the Covid-19 vaccine during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Covid-19 vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds
The NHS is now offering Covid-19 vaccinations to children and young people.
All young people between the ages of 12 and 15 will now be offered a Covid-19 vaccination. Currently the vaccination licensed for children and young people is the Pfizer vaccine. This is the one that all 12 – 15 year olds will be given.
Having the Covid-19 vaccination will help reduce the chance of your child suffering from, and spreading, the disease.
Your child might be offered the vaccination at school, in which case you may be given a consent form to sign giving permission for your child to have the vaccination.
A health professional will discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with your child at their appointment and will be able to answer any questions you may have.
You can find more information about the vaccination, including how the vaccine will protect your child, and common side effects, in the guide for children and young people below.
Most children and young people aged 12 to 17 are currently only being offered a first dose. Children aged 12-15 who are at increased risk of infection will need two doses of the vaccine, 8 weeks apart.
You can find out more about the Covid-19 vaccination for children and young people aged 12-15 who fall into this category in the leaflet below.
More information about the vaccine
Easy read information about the COVID-19 vaccination can be downloaded in English and other languages here.
Remember, you can also use Browsealoud’s accessibility features throughout our ‘Health for’ websites.
Video resources in British Sign Language
COVID-19 vaccination: What to expect after vaccination
Information about vaccines: For people with a learning disability and autistic people
The BBC has developed a number of videos in South Asian languages explaining about the COVID-19 vaccinations, which you can find here.
The Council for Mosques position on COVID-19 vaccines can be found here.
More information on the vaccination programme can be found on the government website.