PHE says no need to restart vaccination course in pregnancy after second dose delay

25 August 2021

We’ve been asked on WhatsApp whether women who received their first Covid-19 vaccine prior to becoming pregnant, but who then delayed their second dose since becoming pregnant, are advised to get their second dose. 

We’ve also been asked whether, if a second dose has been delayed for a long period of time, they need to  begin the entire vaccination process again.

Pregnant women in this position can continue with their original vaccination program and get their second jab as normal.

Although the second vaccine dose is usually given within 12 weeks of the first, Public Health England told Full Fact there is no reason to suspect that the vaccine will be less effective if the second dose is given beyond 12 weeks. It said there is no need for a pregnant woman (or anyone else for that matter) who has already received one dose to “restart” their course of vaccinations for this reason.

When the vaccines first became available, the advice was that pregnant women should not be “routinely” vaccinated due to the lack of evidence on safety for pregnant women specifically. Since then, much research on safety has been done and evidence collected, such that the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, and the NHS now recommend pregnant women get vaccinated. 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises the government on vaccine policy, says there should be a minimum of eight weeks between doses. It doesn’t warn against a longer gap between doses. 

While Pfizer and Moderna are the preferred vaccines for pregnant women, the NHS says women who had the AstraZeneca vaccine for their first dose and did not have any serious side effects, should have it again for their second dose.

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.

Update 7 September 2021

We updated this article to clarify the wording of the questions we had been asked.

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