Covid-19 vaccines are recommended at any stage of pregnancy

24 August 2021

We’ve been asked on WhatsApp whether there is any reason to avoid the Covid-19 vaccines currently available in the UK during the first trimester of pregnancy. 

Dr Jo Mountfield, consultant obstetrician and vice president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) told Full Fact: “We recommend vaccination at any stage of pregnancy”. 

Public Health England and the NHS state that the risk of Covid-19 in pregnancy is greatest in the third trimester. Therefore RCOG recommends that where possible, women should receive both doses before giving birth, or before entering the third trimester. 

Dr Mountfield also said that with regards to vaccine timings, in the UK, second doses of the COVID-19 vaccines are given eight to 12 weeks after the first dose, with high risk people being able to bring their second dose forward to eight weeks. While pregnant women are not currently included in this group, she recommended contacting your GP or the National Booking System to see if the second dose can be brought forward to eight weeks. 

The RCOG website says: “The vaccine is considered to be safe and effective at any stage of pregnancy. There’s no evidence that delaying until after the first 12 weeks is necessary. 

“Second doses are given 8 weeks after the first dose and we recommend that you receive two doses before giving birth, or before you enter the third trimester, when the risk of serious illness with COVID-19 is greatest.” 

Data on Covid-19 vaccines during pregnancy continues to grow. For example, in the US over 140,000 women who reported they were pregnant have been vaccinated to date. In England, over 60,000 women who reported that they were pregnant or could be pregnant at the time of vaccination have received at least one dose of vaccine.

A new study in England is looking at the ideal interval between vaccines for pregnant women, as well as monitoring the immune response of the mother and baby.

The information included in this article contains the latest evidence and official guidance available at the time it was written. This is not a substitute for medical advice. If you require specific medical advice please consult your GP or midwife.

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