As the response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many questions have been raised about the COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant individuals, especially as third doses are now being rolled out in Ontario.
People who are pregnant or recently pregnant are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with people who are not pregnant. A COVID-19 infection in pregnancy – regardless of disease severity, increases the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, blood pressure conditions in pregnancy and stillbirth.
“COVID-19 can impact both the health and well-being of mom and the outcome of the pregnancy,” says Dr. Wendy Whittle, a maternal fetal-medicine specialist at Sinai Health. “We strongly encourage those who are pregnant to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their baby.”
Here are Dr. Whittle’s key facts to keep in mind as you book your third dose vaccine:
1. The third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is safe
Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. Research indicates that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
2. The best time to get your third dose is now
Getting your third dose as soon as you become eligible is the best way to protect you and your baby, regardless of gestation. In Ontario, it is recommended that you get the third dose three months after your second dose.
3. The vaccine will not give you or your baby COVID-19
The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain live virus and does not cause any harmful effects for you or your baby or the outcome of the pregnancy. The side effects of the vaccine in pregnancy are similar not those experienced in non-pregnant individuals.
4. The COVID-19 vaccine will not impact fertility
Studies have shown us that there is no impact on an individual’s fertility following a COVID-19 vaccination. Just like any other vaccine, you develop antibodies that will protect you and your baby, and even provide protection for future pregnancies.
5. You can continue to breastfeeding following a third dose
It is safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine while breastfeeding, and there is no need to stop or delay breastfeeding after getting vaccinated. If you get vaccinated while breastfeeding, the vaccine itself will not transfer into breastmilk, but studies suggest that the antibodies you produce following vaccination will.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant individuals, please visit our COVID-19 and Pregnancy page on our website.