Can pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine?

31/Aug/2021     Health

The Australian Department of Health has approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine safe for pregnant women.

If you are pregnant, trying to fall pregnant or breastfeeding and have not yet received a vaccine, speak with your healthcare provider about getting one today.

Mater Director of Infectious Diseases Associate Professor Paul Griffin speaks about the COVID-19 vaccine and its safety for pregnant women to dispel any myths and misconceptions patients may have.

1. Why has the COVID-19 vaccine only been approved for pregnant women now?

The answer is simple we did not have enough data to demonstrate it was safe. There are rigorous and thorough testing standards for vaccinations to be approved in this country.

Fortunately, over the past year many pregnant women from across the world have come forward to receive the vaccine as part of clinical trials. This means we can now confidently say the vaccine is safe for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to fall pregnant.

The vaccine is safe to receive at any time during your pregnancy journey.

2. Are there any risks involved?

The risks of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine are the same as they are for the general population. You should speak with your healthcare provider for further advice regarding your individual circumstances but there is no increased risk associated with pregnancy.

3. What are the risks if I don't get my vaccine?

Pregnant women with COVID-19 have a higher risk of certain complications, including:

  • An increased risk (about 3 times higher) of needing admission to an intensive care unit.
  • An increased risk (about 3 times higher) of needing invasive ventilation (breathing life support).

COVID-19 also increases the risk of certain pregnancy complications including:

  • A slightly increased risk (about 1.3 times higher) of having their baby born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy).
  • An increased risk (about 3 times higher) of their baby needing admission to a newborn care unit.

There are currently outbreaks of the highly infectious Delta strain of COVID-19 in the community across Australia which is concerning. We would strongly recommend pregnant women do receive their vaccine as soon as possible.

4. The vaccine is so hard to get for people my age; will I even receive one?

Pregnant women are now in Stage 1b of the vaccine rollout and eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. With the approval of your healthcare provider you should register for a vaccination with Queensland Health to receive an appointment.

You can also try a walk-in clinic, but some are experiencing extended wait periods which may prove difficult for pregnant women to stand in for long periods of time.

5. Do I need to tell the staff at the vaccination clinic I am pregnant?

Yes, you should tell the vaccination staff you are pregnant. They may ask you to stay back a little longer for monitoring after your vaccine to ensure you're well. I would also recommend you bring water and something to eat to your appointment if you do have to wait a little longer.

6. Where can I get more information?

There are many great resources online via the Department of Health or Queensland Health websites to help inform your decision. It is also strongly recommended you speak with your GP, Obstetrician, midwife or health care provider who can advise you on your own personal circumstances.

Department of Health

Queensland Health

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Public relations contacts

07 3163 6142