The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently strengthened its recommendation for pregnant individuals to get the COVID-19 vaccine as the agency strives to promote greater vaccination rates amid an increase in cases of the Delta variant.
“It has never been more urgent to increase vaccinations as we face the highly transmissible Delta variant and see severe outcomes from COVID-19 among unvaccinated pregnant people.”
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky
This recommendation comes in tandem with new guidance on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people:
- COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.
- Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. This data suggests that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
- No evidence currently suggests any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.
The CDC says although the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant and recently pregnant people are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 compared to nonpregnant people. Severe illness includes conditions that require hospitalization, intensive care, or the need for a ventilator or special equipment to breathe; and illnesses that result in death.
Having certain underlying medical conditions, and other factors, including age, can further increase a pregnant or recently pregnant (for at least 42 days following the end of pregnancy) person’s risk for developing severe COVID-19 illness.
Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk of preterm birth (delivering the baby earlier than 37 weeks) and might be at increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes compared to pregnant individuals without COVID-19.
For more information, read What to Know About Pregnancy and Newborn Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
According to the CDC, additional clinical trials that study the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people are underway or planned. Vaccine manufacturers are also collecting and reviewing data from people in the completed clinical trials who received a vaccine and became pregnant.
For specific questions about vaccines, talk to your health care provider.
To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, individuals can also review guidance from the CDC.