Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is
everyone’s best bet at protecting themselves and those around them from the
virus. But if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive, you may
have some questions about how the vaccine could affect you, or when you should
While there is plenty of misleading
information around COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy circulating, pharmacist
Catherine Yee from Capital Chemist Bowral says the clear message is that if
you’re pregnant, you should get vaccinated as soon as you can.
In fact, you have even more reason than the
average person. Research has shown that pregnant women and their unborn
children are at a higher risk of the effects of COVID-19.
“In real world studies, they found a five
times higher risk of needing to go to hospital if you caught COVID-19 infection
while you're pregnant, two to three times higher of needing admission to
intensive care, and three times higher of needing ventilation than if you were
not pregnant. So that is why vaccination in pregnancy is recommended,” says
“There can also be complications for your
newborn if you catch COVID-19 while pregnant. Your child is one-and-a-half
times more likely to be born prematurely, before 37 weeks of pregnancy, and
three times more likely to need admission to hospital. So the best way to
prevent all of that absolutely, is to get vaccinated.”
“Research has also shown evidence that the
antibodies from the vaccination pass through the membrane and through breast
milk to help protect your baby even more.”
While information has spread around the
COVID-19 vaccine altering fertility, affecting menstrual cycles or even leading
to complications in pregnancy, but Catherine says research worldwide shows
“There are lots of rumours on the Internet,
but they are not supported by evidence,” says Catherine.
“There was a big study in the US of over
35,000 pregnant women who were vaccinated. Any side effects reported were
similar in the pregnant people to those who weren’t pregnant, and there were
normal rates of pregnancy. Studies have not found any increase in pregnancy
complications in those who are vaccinated, and the pregnancy rate is not
decreasing in women of childbearing age who have had the vaccines, so there's
just no evidence of it.”
The best time to get vaccinated is whenever
you’re able to get an appointment at any stage of pregnancy, whether you’re
planning for a baby, trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding.
In Australia, both the Pfizer and Moderna
vaccines are the preferred vaccines for pregnant women. While Pfizer is not
available through Capital Chemist, Moderna will soon be available in the
pharmacy, with supplies expected to arrive in late September/early October.
As a Mum herself, Catherine says she
understands that pregnant or breastfeeding women may have concerns around the
COVID-19 vaccine, but to chat to your local pharmacist, GP, obstetrician or
midwife if you have any questions or want to discuss your options further.
"When you are pregnant, you have this heightened
sense of not wanting to put anything into your body that’s not natural and
there can be that extra layer of, ‘I just want to protect my baby’. But by
having the vaccine, you are protecting your baby,” she says.