The COVID vaccine is as safe for pregnant people as it is for everyone else, research shows

The New England Journal of Medicine has released reassuring new data about the COVID vaccine and pregnancy.


Since the rollout of the mRNA COVID vaccines began late last year, many have been wondering if it's safe to get the vaccine while pregnant. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization all agree the COVID vaccine is safe those who are pregnant, and now preliminary research finds no evidence that the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines pose serious risks during pregnancy. The research suggests the COVID vaccine and pregnant women show no greater risk than non-pregnant women and the COVID vaccine.

The data, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that mRNA vaccines are effective in people who are pregnant and lactating in passing antibodies to newborns, and suggests the benefits of the mRNA vaccines outweigh the risks.

Pregnant people with COVID-19 are more likely to be admitted into the intensive care unit and need respiratory support compared to non-pregnant people of the same age. COVID-19 also increases the risk of premature birth. According to the WHO, 1 in 4 of all babies born to women with COVID-19 was admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit.

The new study reviewed data on 35,691 pregnant people between December 14, 2020 to February 28, 2021 from the CDC's V-safe program, as well as data from the CDC's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Pregnant participants were between 15-54 years old.

Within the V-safe group, there were 3,958 pregnant participants. Data shows 827 completed pregnancies, 115 experienced pregnancy loss, and 712 of them gave live birth. Preterm births occurred in 9.4% of participants and only 3.2% of these were small gestational age. There were no neonatal deaths reported.

In the VAERS group, 221 pregnancy-related adverse events reported to the CDC's VAERS registry, and 46 of them were miscarriages.

After vaccination, pregnant participants reported similar side effects experiences by the nonpregnant vaccine recipients: pain at the injection site, fatigue, headaches and muscle pain.

All in all, the adverse pregnancy effects in vaccine recipients did not appear to differ from those reported in pregnant people before the pandemic.

"Although not directly comparable, calculated proportions of adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in persons vaccinated against Covid-19 who had a completed pregnancy were similar to incidences reported in studies involving pregnant women that were conducted before the Covid-19 pandemic," the findings concluded.

These findings are extremely reassuring as the Biden Administration continues to rollout vaccines to all Americans during the ongoing pandemic. Research will continue to assess long-term COVID-19 vaccine safety during pregnancy, particularly in early pregnancy.

But the available data is very helpful to expecting families when it comes to making informed decisions about the COVID-19 vaccination and prioritizing health and wellness of mama and baby above all.

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