Breastfeeding · Pregnancy

COVID-19 Vaccine: Planning a pregnancy, pregnant or breastfeeding

Pregnant person getting a covid-19 vaccine.

As of April 23, all pregnant individuals in Ontario are eligible to register for COVID-19 vaccination appointments. It is free and available to all eligible residents. An OHIP card is not required to get the vaccine. Many have been asking questions about the vaccine and whether it is safe to be vaccinated when planning a pregnancy, pregnant or breastfeeding.

As of today, four COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use in Canada. Three of the vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca) require two-doses and one vaccine (Janssen-Johnson & Johnson) only needs one dose. There are age recommendations for each vaccine. 

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

  • It tells your body to make antibodies
  • If you are exposed to the COVID-19 virus after being vaccinated, the antibodies that your body made will quickly destroy the virus and protect you against severe illness
  • The vaccine does not contain the virus so it cannot give you this infection
  • The vaccine also protects against the COVID-19 Variants of Concern

Can I be vaccinated if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Most people who get COVID-19 while pregnant will have mild symptoms but some can get very sick and develop breathing problems that need care in the hospital or lead to a premature birth. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada recommends that people who are pregnant or breastfeeding be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at any time as long as they are eligible and do not have any medical reasons not to receive it. Talk to your doctor or midwife to understand if the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the risks of getting the COVID-19 infection.   

What if I’m planning to become pregnant?

If you’re planning on becoming pregnant, it is recommended to get both doses of the vaccine ahead of pregnancy (where possible) when it’s available to you. There is no evidence that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine.

If you are pregnant or become pregnant soon after getting the first dose of the vaccine you will have to decide if you should get the second dose. The decision should be made by looking at the risks of not being completely vaccinated during pregnancy versus the risks of getting the vaccine during pregnancy.

Toronto is working hard to get everyone vaccinated but it will take time.

It is important for everyone to continue with public health measures to reduce virus spread like wearing a mask, physical distancing, avoiding contact with anyone who has symptoms and washing hands often, until vaccines are more widely available and we can be sure that the vaccine prevents the spread of most COVID-19 infections.

People who are pregnant can book at City Immunization Clinics by calling the provincial call centre at 1-888-999-6488. You cannot book online. You may also be able to book at Hospital Immunization Clinics. Please review the eligibility for each site. Find a clinic location near you.

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2 thoughts on “COVID-19 Vaccine: Planning a pregnancy, pregnant or breastfeeding

  1. I didn’t know I was pregnant when I got my first shot. I had a severe blood pressure drop that left my body in shock. I was carted off in the ambulance where then the guy mucked up my vein. I’m currently 12 weeks. I am not comfortable getting the 2nd maderna shot as a result. I heard a drop in blood pressure could be bad for the baby. I’m expeted to go in June 9th for my 2nd shot. How should I handle this?

    1. Congratulations on your pregnancy. Thank you for sharing your experience after you received your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Two doses are required for full protection, so getting the second dose in pregnancy is still recommended. Talk to your doctor or midwife if you have more questions. The decision should be made by understanding the benefits of getting the vaccine compared to the risks of not being completely vaccinated during pregnancy.

      For more information about pregnancy and vaccines, you can call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 or Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600.

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