Vaccines needed during pregnancy

There are 3 vaccines you should get during pregnancy:

  • whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine
  • flu vaccine
  • COVID-19 vaccine

Getting these vaccines means you'll be protected against serious illness from COVID-19, flu and whooping cough. You'll also protect your child while they're in your womb and for the first few months of their life.

You can get these vaccines at the same time. They are usually given in different arms.

Whooping cough vaccine

You should get the vaccine:

  • during each pregnancy
  • between week 16 and 36 of your pregnancy (you can have it after 36 weeks but it's less effective)

Whooping cough (also known as pertussis) is highly contagious and can be life-threatening for babies. Getting the whooping cough vaccine protects you and your baby.

Babies with whooping cough may have to stay in the hospital. Complications for your baby can include pneumonia and brain damage.

The whooping cough vaccine is given to all pregnant women free of charge.

The vaccine cannot give you whooping cough - it does not contain any live bacteria.

Whooping cough vaccine during pregnancy

Flu vaccine

Getting the flu increases the risk of complications during your pregnancy and birth. The flu can lead to premature birth, smaller babies and stillbirth.

The flu vaccine can reduce the risk of stillbirth by over 50%. Getting the vaccine during pregnancy also protects your baby after birth. It reduces your baby’s risk of being admitted to hospital with the flu.

You can get the flu vaccine safely at any time during pregnancy. Flu season in Ireland usually lasts from October to the end of April. If you're pregnant during these months, you should get the flu vaccine.

The flu vaccine is free for pregnant women. You will not be charged a consultation fee.

Flu vaccine during pregnancy

COVID-19 vaccine

You should also get your first round of COVID-19 vaccination or any booster doses you are due to protect yourself from the virus.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe for you and your baby. They protect you from getting very unwell if you get COVID-19.

Most pregnant women who get COVID-19 get mild to moderate symptoms. They give birth as planned and the risk of passing on COVID-19 to their baby is low.

But pregnant women are more likely to get very unwell and need treatment in intensive care than a woman who is not pregnant. The virus may also cause complications for your baby.

Children under the age of 1 are at higher risk of hospitalisation and severe illness from COVID-19. Young babies whose mothers were vaccinated in pregnancy, were less likely to need hospital care with COVID-19.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy gives you and your baby the best possible protection from COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 20 November 2018
Next review due: 20 November 2021