As UW Medicine prepares for COVID-19 vaccination, many questions are arising about the COVID vaccine in pregnancy.
Here is a summary of current available guidance, which will be updated as more information becomes available.
The UW Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology aligns with the guidance regarding COVID vaccine provided by the following organizations:
- Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM): SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination in Pregnancy
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG): Vaccinating Pregnant and Lactating Patients Against COVID-19
We also align with all UW Medicine guidance on the COVID vaccine Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines for Employees.
Key talking points for pregnancy:
- The COVID vaccine should be offered to high-risk persons such as health care workers who are pregnant, those who are contemplating pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- The vaccine safety and efficiency has not been tested in pregnancy.
- The risk of maternal or fetal harm from an mRNA vaccine is unknown but thought to be low.
- COVID-19 disease carries increased risk in pregnancy, particularly for patients with obesity or other medical conditions.
- Receipt of the vaccine is a personal choice.
- Please your prenatal care provider if you have additional questions not covered by this.
Based on the early experience in the UK, the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology also add:
- Pregnant patients who have a history of significant allergy to vaccine components should defer the COVID vaccine until there is a better understanding of anaphylactoid reactions to the vaccine.
Key points from the SMFM and ACOG statement are summarized below:
The Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology anticipate that high risk healthcare workers and first responders will be among the first people offered the COVID vaccine. While the vaccines have not been tested on pregnant women, the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM) has recommended that pregnant women who fall into this high-risk category be offered and receive the COVID vaccine. ACOG concurs that pregnant and lactating health-care workers should be offered the vaccine. As always, receiving a vaccine is a personal choice. mRNA vaccines, which are likely to be the first vaccines available, do not contain a live virus but rather induce humoral and cellular immune response through the use of viral mRNA. This means that mild infection-like symptoms should be anticipated after receiving the vaccine. The risk of fetal harm from mRNA vaccines is unknown but thought to be low. Specifically, the vaccine does not integrate into host DNA. As more data emerges, we will be able to offer more detailed advice to pregnant women in regard to the safety of COVID vaccines during pregnancy.
Regarding research on the COVID vaccine in pregnancy:
- The Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology plan to set up a registry to follow pregnant and breastfeeding women who receive the COVID vaccine. More information will be coming soon.
- Clinical trials for the COVID vaccine involving pregnant women are planned to start in January 2021. UW has applied to participate in these trials.