“Should I get the vaccine if I’m pregnant or trying to conceive?”
Unfortunately, the answer is complicated with differing opinions. Medication use during pregnancy is a personal decision and every mother-to-be has different levels of concern. The more important question is “What’s the benefit compared to the risk?”
On the benefit side, we believe pregnant women are more likely to develop severe COVID-19 symptoms and the vaccine does protect from developing symptomatic disease.
On the risk side, we know a developing fetus can be sensitive to things the mother is exposed to, but we don’t have any specific research into the exact effect the COVID vaccines might have.
There were a very small number of women in the Phase 3 vaccine trials who became pregnant after their first dose and no adverse outcomes were found.
We know other vaccines -- like the flu shot -- are safe during pregnancy and there isn’t any specific reason to believe the COVID vaccines would be any different.
Until there is more definitive safety information, the CDC recommends people who are pregnant and eligible for the vaccine may choose to be vaccinated.
The World Health Organization’s stance is slightly different. It recommends pregnant people to not use an MRNA vaccine in pregnancy unless the benefit of vaccinating a pregnant woman outweighs the potential vaccine risks.
Before more data makes things clear, it makes sense to consider every person’s COVID risk individually and even consider what trimester of pregnancy they are in.
“Can the vaccine make me sterile/infertile?”
No. It’s been studied in animal models with no such issues and some people in the clinical trials were able to become pregnant afterward.
Questions about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge