You should get vaccinated to protect yourself from serious illness with COVID-19 if you are:
You should also get a booster dose. You need to wait 3 months (at least 90 days) after your first round of vaccination before you can get a booster.
What does ‘first round of COVID-19 vaccination’ mean?
When we say ‘first round of COVID-19 vaccination’ we mean your dose 1 and dose 2 if you got AstraZeneca, Moderna or Pfizer. Or your single dose if you got the Janssen vaccine.
If you have a weak immune system, you should have been offered an ‘additional dose’ to give you better protection. This is because your immune system may not respond as well to vaccination. You will still need your booster dose after this additional dose.
COVID-19 infection during pregnancy
Most pregnant women who get the virus get mild to moderate symptoms. They give birth as planned and the risk of passing on COVID-19 to their baby is low.
But you 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.
How to get vaccinated
Your maternity hospital or GP can arrange your vaccination if you are pregnant.
You can also:
- book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment
- go to a walk-in vaccination clinic
- book an appointment with a participating pharmacy
Doses during pregnancy
It is safe to get your first round of COVID-19 vaccination and booster at any stage of your pregnancy.
You can get your COVID-19 vaccine on the same day as any of the other vaccines you need during pregnancy, if you want.
You will be offered either the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. These are mRNA vaccines.
You will only be offered the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine if you are aged 30 or over.
Vaccine will protect you and your baby
Being vaccinated will reduce the chance of you becoming very unwell from COVID-19 and reduce the chance of complications for your baby.
The latest research shows that getting an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy lowers the risk of stillbirth by 15%.
COVID-19 vaccines are not shown to have any negative effect on babies in the womb. They may actually help to protect your baby after birth as you may pass on antibodies from the vaccine to your baby.
Evidence shows COVID-19 vaccines are safe
Pregnant women in Ireland have been safely getting the COVID-19 vaccine since May 2021. There has been no increase in reported side effects from COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women or their babies anywhere in the world.
But COVID-19 vaccines are new. We are still learning about them. There is limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy. They were not tested on pregnant women during clinical trials. Trials are now taking place.
The COVID-19 vaccines are not live vaccines. This means they cannot give you or your baby COVID-19. The vaccine doses are rapidly broken down in your body. They cannot become part of your or your baby’s DNA.
If you decide not to get vaccinated
You may decide to wait until your baby is born or until you have more information before getting a vaccine.
If you wait, there is a greater risk you will become very unwell if you get COVID-19. There are also risks for your baby.
Take extra care to protect yourself against COVID-19 if you decide not to get vaccinated.
Avoid situations where you could pick up the virus. This includes crowded areas or communities with high rates of the virus.
If you are trying for a baby
You do not need to leave any gap between having your COVID-19 vaccine and:
- trying to get pregnant
- having fertility treatment, such as IVF
Fertility and COVID-19 vaccination
There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination affects fertility. Do not put off having a vaccine because you are hoping to get pregnant.
There is no evidence that the vaccine has any link to irregular periods.
If you are breastfeeding
You can get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are breastfeeding. This will protect you from getting seriously unwell due to COVID-19.
You can continue to breastfeed safely after being vaccinated.
COVID-19 vaccines do not affect breastfed babies. There is no known reason to avoid breastfeeding if you are vaccinated.
Getting a vaccine cannot infect your baby with COVID-19.
If you were vaccinated while pregnant, antibodies against COVID-19 may pass into your first breast milk or colostrum. This may give some protection from the virus to your baby.
Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild to moderate and do not last long.
You can take paracetamol if you have a fever (temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher). Do not take ibuprofen or aspirin.
This content was fact checked by vaccine experts working in Ireland.
Last updated: 27 May 2022 at 5.30pm