Can Breastfeeding or Pregnant Women receive the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Melissa Vaarwerk

The first of the COVID-19 Vaccines have arrived in Australia and the vaccine program will soon begin. From Monday, Australia's front-line health workers, quarantine staff and aged care residents & staff will be offered the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, called Comirnaty. 

Some of these recipients will be pregnant or breastfeeding women.

The Federal Government has released a decision guide for women who may be pregnant, breast feeding or planning a family, aimed specifically for the Pfizer vaccine. The decision guide will be updated when more information about the other vaccines become available. 

Is it safe to receive a vaccine if I'm currently breastfeeding?

The recommendation is that you can receive the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine at anytime. You do not need to stop breastfeeding at all. The Comirnaty vaccine is not a live vaccine, and breaks down in the body very quickly. 

I'm trying to fall pregnant - can I still have the vaccine?

If you are planning a family, it is recommended that you can receive the Cormirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine. You do not need to plan around the timing of the vaccine, nor do you have to take a pregnancy test prior to receiving the vaccine. 

What about if I'm pregnant?

The recommendation is to not receive the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine unless you have medical risk factors for severe COVID-19, or you are at a serious risk of exposure to the virus. You should speak to your doctor or health care provider regarding the risks of complications associated with getting vaccination versus the risks associated with contracting COVID-19.

Like most medications and vaccines, pregnant women were not involved in any COVID-19 clinical trials, so the available data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women are limited. Further trials will include pregnant women once developmental and reproductive toxicity studies are complete. 

Bottom Line?

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should discuss your vaccination options with your doctor or health care provider. 


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