Fertility, Pregnancy and the COVID-19 Vaccines

Find answers to frequently asked questions here.

Do the COVID-19 vaccines have any long-term effects on fertility? How can I feel comfortable getting vaccinated if there is no long-term research?

There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines lead to loss of fertility. While fertility was not specifically studied in the vaccine clinical trials, no loss of fertility has been reported among trial participants or among the millions who have received the vaccines. In fact, 25 women became pregnant after getting vaccinated in the Phase 3 clinical trial for the Pfizer vaccine. Loss of fertility is scientifically unlikely. And based upon other, similar vaccines, we do not expect to see long-term effects from the COVID-19 vaccines on the mother or the baby.

Is there a certain amount of time a woman should wait after receiving the vaccination before trying to conceive?

No, a woman does not need to wait to become pregnant after getting vaccinated.

If a woman had COVID-19 early in her pregnancy, wouldn't she pass along natural antibodies to the baby?

Even if a woman had COVID-19 in the past, it is advised to get vaccinated during pregnancy. Preliminary data suggests the antibodies produced after vaccination last longer than those from natural infection. And contracting COVID-19 infection during pregnancy is associated with increased health risks and pregnancy complications.

Is it safe to get vaccinated during the first trimester?

Yes, it is safe to get vaccinated during the first, second or third trimester. In fact, getting vaccinated as soon possible (whether before becoming pregnant or during your pregnancy) will protect the mother and baby from contracting the virus.

Are there any concerns about the baby's developmental growth, specifically during the first trimester, if you’ve gotten vaccinated before or during the first trimester?

The vaccine can be given at any time during pregnancy. There is no evidence that the vaccines have any effect on developmental growth of the baby during any stage of pregnancy.

Can the COVID-19 vaccines cause miscarriage?

There is no evidence that the vaccines cause miscarriage. In studies, the number of women who had miscarriages after vaccination is not higher than the number of women who have miscarriages in the general population.

Are there any risks for pregnant women who get their second vaccine dose after contracting COVID-19 between doses?

Those who contract COVID-19 between doses need to postpone their second shot until testing negative, but it’s okay to space out the doses a little longer, and there is no need to repeat the first dose. There are no special precautions for pregnant women when it comes to getting the second dose, even if they have had COVID-19.

If a pregnant woman experiences side effects from the vaccine, what should she do?

For most people, side effects consist of mild to moderate fever, chills, body aches and pains, headaches and injection-site pain. They generally resolve within one or two days. Pregnant women can take Tylenol after vaccination to help with side effects. Talk to your OB/GYN if you have concerns about how to manage side effects.

According to a peer-review study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, pregnant women reported more pain at their injection site than non-pregnant women, but they also reported fewer symptoms of headache, chills, muscle aches and fever.

Among Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, is one vaccine more highly recommended for pregnant women than the others?

There is no difference among the vaccines when it comes to one being preferred for pregnant women. Young women may feel more comfortable choosing Pfizer or Moderna, due to the very rare cases of blood clotting recently seen with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. All the vaccines are safe and highly effective at preventing COVID-19. Adverse reactions are extremely rare with all of the vaccines. The only consideration when choosing among the vaccines would be if you are allergic to any of the ingredients:

  • Moderna vaccine ingredients: messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA),lipids (SM-102,polyethylene glycol [PEG]2000dimyristoylglycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate, and sucrose.
  • Pfizer vaccine ingredients: mRNA, lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2- hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-snglycero-3- phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose.
  • Johnson & Johnson vaccine ingredients: recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus type 26 expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, citric acid monohydrate, trisodium citrate dihydrate, ethanol, 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HBCD), polysorbate-80, sodium chloride.

Is monoclonal antibody treatment recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women?

Monoclonal antibody therapy should not be withheld from pregnant or breastfeeding women with COVID-19 who have a high-risk, underlying health condition. The patient and doctor should determine, based upon the patient’s individual situation, whether the potential benefit of the drug outweighs the potential risk.

If the baby might have a birth defect, should a pregnant woman still think about getting vaccinated?

Yes. There is no reason not to get vaccinated if the baby may have a birth defect. Vaccination will protect both mother and baby from COVID-19 infection.

Can the COVID-19 vaccines cause a birth defect in an unborn child?

There is no evidence that the vaccines can cause a birth defect in an unborn child.

Have there been any studies or information released regarding male fertility and the vaccine?

There is no evidence that the vaccines affect male fertility. While fever can be a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccines--and fever can cause a temporary decline in sperm production--it isn't much different from experiencing a fever from COVID-19 or another illness.

Is getting vaccinated discouraged in pregnant women who are age 40+?

No, getting vaccinated is encouraged for all pregnant women, including women who are 40 years old or older and expecting.

Could mRNA vaccines affect pregnancy?

The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines do not contain mRNA that could affect pregnancy. COVID-19 infection during pregnancy, however, is associated with increased health and pregnancy complications.

If someone has endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome, can they get vaccinated? Yes, women with these conditions may receive the vaccine.

I’ve heard the vaccine is affecting women’s periods and ovulation. Is this true?

There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are causing irregular periods or disrupting the timing of ovulation.

Is there any comparison between COVID-19 and Zika in terms of pregnancy risk?

The rate of COVID-19 infection in infants prior to birth is less than 3% with no reports of fetal birth defects attributed to COVID-19. Infants born from pregnant individuals with confirmed Zika infection have a 5-10% chance of birth defects.
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