Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

COVID-19 vaccine does not affect fertility, immunization experts say

Black and white photo of a couple holding hands An Army couple holds hands while listening to a counselor explore reasons why the woman should or should not receive a COVID-19 vaccination while pregnant. Ultimately, those eligible for the immunizations must make their own choices about getting vaccinated while pregnant or choose to wait until after birth to get vaccinated. The same decision extends to people who are breastfeeding. (Photo by Army Sgt. Maricris C. McLane.)

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

You’re pregnant, or you’re breastfeeding. Should you get a COVID-19 vaccine?

That’s a question on the minds of many military frontline health care workers today. The short answer is that it’s an individual’s choice, and military health experts say the vaccine is well worth considering.

As the COVID-19 vaccines continue to be administered across military hospitals and smaller clinics and outposts under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, the advice from the military and a multitude of national maternal and fetal health professional associations is the same: For most pregnant people, getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible is the safest choice based on the science to date.

The COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA vaccines. These vaccines contain no live viruses that could directly infect a mother or baby.

“As of Jan. 21, more than 15,000 pregnant patients had received an mRNA vaccine,” said retired Navy Capt. (Dr.) Margaret Ryan, medical director, Defense Health Agency Immunization Division, Pacific Region Vaccine Safety Hub, San Diego. “The experiences of these pregnancies are being followed very closely, and no specific safety concerns have been reported so far.

“As COVID-19 vaccines were being developed, studies in the laboratory and animals showed no reproductive health problems,” Ryan added.

Pregnant people are entering clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines “literally now and going into March, so more data will be known soon,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser on COVID-19, told a Blue Star Families virtual town hall Feb. 4.

Of the 15,000 pregnant people who have received at least one of the 32 million vaccinations in the United States, “there have been no red flags of adverse events. Many who are pregnant are health care providers who said the risk of getting COVID-19 from their patients was worse than that from getting the vaccine,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

Said Ryan: “Although it is unclear how pregnancy may affect infection risk, some women who have been infected with COVID-19 during pregnancy have experienced serious illness or death. COVID-19 infection in pregnancy also seems to increase risk of preterm birth.”

As for those who do not want to take the vaccine, “we know there are significantly increased risks for pregnant people who contract COVID-19, e.g., they are three times more likely to be admitted to the ICU and need breathing support,” said Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Monica Lutgendorf, division head Maternal Fetal Medicine, Naval Medical Center-San Diego (NMCSD), and chair, DHA Women and Infants Clinical Community. “People with comorbidities such as diabetes, Latinx, and Black people are also more at risk for COVID-19 and death. Therefore, it is often beneficial to get the vaccine, especially for pregnant or nursing individuals at increased risk of severe disease.”

Lutgendorf noted that although relative risks of COVID-19 are increased in pregnancy, this information should be provided in the context of overall low absolute risks for breathing support (2.9 per 1,000), heart and lung support (0.7 per 1,000), and death (1.5 per 1,000).

Ryan went on to say that specialists from the CDC, American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and American Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine “all agree that breastfeeding should not be a barrier to receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine. Breastfeeding should never be equated to pregnancy in terms of health considerations for mother or child.”

You also may be interested in...

Get to Know the Vaccines

Publication
9/17/2021

A graphic showing the types of vaccines, how they work, and safety monitoring of the vaccines. Includes the MHS and TRICARE logos on the bottom right, and includes graphics of scientists, doctors, and patients.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Get to know the COVID19 Vaccines

Publication
9/17/2021

Get to know the vaccines – they do not contain the live virus, they do not interact with our DNA, and have been tested rigorously.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Line Leader Presentation (PDF)

Publication
8/4/2021

This document is identical to the PowerPoint presentation for line leader reference and use.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Line Leader Presentation (Powerpoint)

Publication
8/4/2021

Leaders across the Department can leverage this briefing deck to discuss COVID-19 vaccines with their troops. Don't forget to reference speaker notes and to personalize the title slide!

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

VAX Facts about Getting the COVID Vaccine at the Same Time as Others

Publication
6/9/2021

Printable PDF of VAX Fact Infographic

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vax Facts

Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Publication
6/9/2021

The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines were developed to prevent infection from the virus that causes COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines (Combined)

Publication
6/9/2021

The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines were developed to prevent infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn about the vaccines, how they work and safety precautions.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

Publication
6/9/2021

Learn how the different COVID-19 vaccines work.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Monitoring

Publication
6/9/2021

The FDA and CDC continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. CDC has an independent group of experts that reviews all the safety data as it comes in and provides regular safety updates.

Recommended Content:

Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry User Guide for Service Members

Publication
6/1/2021

The following guide is designed to help service members navigate the complete registry process. It describes the registry requirements; provides an in-depth, step-by-step guide for accessing, registering, and completing the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry questionnaire; and provides instructions for scheduling the optional, in-person medical exam.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry | Environmental Exposures

COVID-19 Vaccine Leader Card

Publication
5/27/2021

This printable card provides talking points when discussing the COVID-19 vaccine with servicemembers who are reluctant or indifferent to accepting the vaccine. The card lists common concerns and impressions, top 5 key messages, and supporting facts about the vaccine.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vax Facts

Unit Leader Vaccine Conversation Guide

Publication
5/24/2021

This guide offers approaches and illustrative examples for preparation, delivery, and navigation of small group discussions (recommended 1-5 people to facilitate greatest engagement) with servicemembers reluctant or indifferent to accepting the vaccine. The guide promotes an open dialogue regarding vaccine hesitancy and complacency by addressing concerns, building trust, and boosting vaccine confidence.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vax Facts

Provider Vaccine Conversation Guide

Publication
5/24/2021

This guide offers approaches and illustrative examples for Military Health System (MHS) providers to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with servicemembers during routine visits. Initiating a COVID-19 vaccine conversation during servicemember visits will allow you to effectively address concerns, build trust, and boost vaccine confidence.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vax Facts

COVID-19 Vaccine Approved for Adolescents Ages 12 and Over

Publication
5/13/2021

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for those ages 12 and over. Includes a photo of adolescents at the top of the page, has the TRICARE logo at the bottom right. Links in the content include www.TRICARE.mil/VaccineAppointments and www.Vaccines.gov.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Vaccine Eligibility

VAX Facts about Breastfeeding

Publication
4/21/2021

Printable PDF of VAX Fact Infographic

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vax Facts
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.