Skip to main content

Military Health System

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

Image of 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 & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

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...

Military Health System Offers a Variety of Contraceptive Care Services

Article
12/1/2022
military medical personnel demonstrates an intrauterine device

The Military Health System offers ample contraceptive care services to help beneficiaries take control of their health, life, and careers.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Contraceptive Care Q&A | Reproductive Health Q&A | Reproductive Health Toolkit | Walk-In Contraceptive Services Toolkit | Contraceptive Care Toolkit

Walk-in Contraceptive Services Required at Hospitals and Clinics

Article
11/1/2022
Five people wearing masks look at the camera.

Walk-in contraceptives services help service members with convenience of one-day, no appointment care, and help the military with readiness.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Contraceptive Care Q&A | Reproductive Health Q&A

Time to Get Your Flu Shot and Your COVID-19 Booster, Too

Article
10/14/2022
Senior MHS officials and medics from the Pentagon stand together Oct. 13 after receiving their flu shots and bivalent COVID-19 boosters.."

It's flu shot time. Get your COVID-19 booster at the same time.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Toolkit | Immunizations | Coronavirus

Prevent the Spread of Influenza and COVID-19 Viruses Within Your Community

Article
10/11/2022
A person getting an injection on their arm.

As families return from summer vacation and students return to school, the influenza (flu) season is approaching while the COVID-19 pandemic is still on-going.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Immunizations | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Toolkit

TRICARE Offers Contraceptive Care to Support You, Your Family, and Your Readiness

Article
9/30/2022
TRICARE covers a full range of contraceptive methods, regardless of which health plan you have. And recent changes to TRICARE policies help make sure you’ll have easy, convenient, and timely access to contraceptive services.

Whether you’re a service member or a TRICARE-eligible family member, contraceptive care plays a key role in your overall health, wellness, and quality of life. It also supports your individual and family readiness.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Contraceptive Care Toolkit

Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine Now Available for 12 to 17 Year-Olds

Article
8/30/2022
Air Force Staff. Sgt. fills a syringe with a COVID-19 vaccine at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine is Available for Those 12 Years' Old and Above

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

New COVID-19 Boosters Against Subvariants Coming Soon

Article
8/29/2022
Marine on right gets a COVID-19 booster vaccination from a nursing student on his left.

Brooklyn Marine gets COVID-19 booster vaccination.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

How to Get Your Kids Up to Date on Vaccinations

Article
8/25/2022
Child wearing a mask getting the COVID-19 vaccine

Resources to help you get and keep your child’s immunizations up to date in time for back to school.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Back to School | Immunization Healthcare Division

After Dobbs Decision, Department of Defense Provides Q&A Resource

Article
8/16/2022
Images of female service members

The Q&A provides answers to questions around reproductive health care access — including leave and travel, sexual assault, contraceptives and other types of related assistance.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Reproductive Health Q&A

Learn the Most Recent Age Requirements for COVID-19 Vaccines and Boosters

Article
8/10/2022
A man fist bumps a child.

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to get your vaccines and booster shots.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Telemedicine Privilege by Proxy Expands Access to MHS Care

Article
8/10/2022
Infographic featuring Lt Col Legault

MHS has Telemedicine Privilege by Proxy: A fast, efficient process that enables providers to file one application and get permission to virtually treat patients anywhere in the MHS.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Telehealth Program

DOD Officials: Women’s Health Care Unchanged by Supreme Court Decision

Article
8/2/2022
Three women in a medical office.

Military Health System offers comprehensive health care services.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health

Chlamydia is the Military's Most Common Sexually Transmitted Infection

Article
6/21/2022
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S., and most people who have it don’t know it. You may be able to get STI testing and treatment at your local community health clinic. In the photo, a service member at Naval Medical Center Camp LeJeune Community Health Clinic gets tested for STIs.  (Photo: Naval Medical Center Camp LeJeune Public Affairs)

Rates for Chlamydia have been rising in recent years. Chlamydia can cause permanent damage that can make it difficult or impossible for women to get pregnant. It often shows no symptoms at all but in some cases, it can cause a burning sensation when peeing in both men and women.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Men's Health | Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention | Reproductive Health Toolkit

For Sexually Transmitted Infections, Young People are at Higher Risk

Article
6/13/2022
Protect yourself in the war against sexually transmitted infections. If you have questions about where to find free condoms, STI testing, or treatment, contact your health care provider or local installation clinic.

Every year, thousands of service members are diagnosed with at least one sexually transmitted infection. Topping the list of the most common are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and genital herpes, military health data shows.

Recommended Content:

Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Men's Health | Women's Health

Future of Nursing: Telehealth, More Innovation and Maybe Some Robots

Article
5/13/2022
Second Lt. Nina Hoskins, 81st Surgical Operations Squadron operating room nurse, briefs Col. Debra Lovette, 81st Training Wing commander, and other base leadership on robotics surgery capabilities inside the robotics surgery clinic at the Keesler Medical Center June 16, 2017. (Photo: Kemberly Groue, U.S. Air Force)

The future of nursing is here due in part to changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Nursing in the Military Health System | Coronavirus & the MHS Response
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 16
Refine your search
Last Updated: March 31, 2021
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery