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

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

Image of Black and white photo of a couple holding hands. Click to open a larger version of the image. 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 | 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...

Latasha Smith: Warrior against COVID-19

Article Around MHS
2/18/2022
Military personnel looking at a patient's cardiac rhythm

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Latasha Smith, an Airman assigned to the 86th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron, was celebrated as Airlifter of the Week, Jan. 27, 2022, after leading the assault against COVID-19 for over a year.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

COVID-19 therapeutics support DOD pandemic response

Article Around MHS
2/11/2022
Military personnel getting COVID-29 doses ready

The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency is helping to protect the operational force by distributing several new therapeutic options that help to lessen the symptoms of mild-to-moderate cases of COVID-19 and keep Soldiers, their families and beneficiaries out of the hospital.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

COVID-19 Health Action Response for Marines continues to study long-term effects of COVID-19 on Marines

Article Around MHS
2/10/2022
Medical military personnel talking to a patient

A team composed of U.S. Navy medical personnel and civilian technicians based out of the Naval Medical Research Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, assembled during the initial outbreak of COVID-19 to study the short and long-term effects that the virus has on Marines. 

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Getting up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccine

Article Around MHS
2/8/2022
Military personnel giving the COVID-19 vaccine

The U.S. Guard Coast is that we have vaccines to help prevent serious illness if you contract COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Oregon National Guard surging to support hospitals again

Article Around MHS
1/27/2022
Oregon Army National Guard touring a hospital

Hundreds of Oregon National Guard members are increasing support of hospitals throughout the state in their second hospital relief mission during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Readiness Capabilities

Public Health nurses offer insights on living with COVID-19 now, looking into future

Article Around MHS
1/25/2022
The Challenges of Living with COVID

One of the more challenging jobs for any public health professional is dealing with unpredictability inherent in outbreaks like the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Navy Hospital Corpsman steps into the breach in the war on COVID-19

Article Around MHS
1/18/2022
Hospitalman Hector Conde standing in front of a immunization office's refrigeration

First responders and those fighting on the medical battleground have earned well-deserved recognition for their efforts.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

This is my Why

Article Around MHS
12/30/2021
Air Force Senior Airman Marcus Bullock poses for a photo after receiving his COVID-19 vaccination

Air Force Senior Airman Marcus Bullock stated his reason for getting the vaccine was to help his mother and son be able to have a play date again.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

So others may breathe - Navy Medicine Respiratory Therapist cares for COVID casualties

Article Around MHS
12/13/2021
Military Health personnel posing for a picture

Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Tessa Hazard, a respiratory therapist, recently deployed to Alabama as a member of a COVID-19 response team.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Army Public Health Center provides update on Long COVID risks

Article Around MHS
12/1/2021
COVID19 Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

JTF Coyote begins pediatric COVID-19 clinics as adult booster vaccination numbers increase

Article Around MHS
11/23/2021
Military health personnel giving the COVID-19 vaccine

The Vermont National Guard now supports the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic with vaccinations for youth in the 5 to 11 age group and booster clinics for the general adult population.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

USECAF receives insight into COVID19 vaccinations at Reserve wing

Article Around MHS
10/8/2021
Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visits with 433rd Airlift Wing members at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Oct. 2, 2021.

Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visited the 433rd Airlift Wing here to meet with Reserve Citizen Airmen leaders on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Oct. 2, 2021.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

Compassionate Caring with COVID Vax Commitment

Article Around MHS
10/6/2021
A  female doctor poses for a photo.

When pregnant patients have an appointment with Lt. Cmdr. Megan Northup at Naval Hospital Bremerton, they get more than a qualified and caring OB/GYN physician.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Health Promotion duo optimizes health on Incirlik Air Base

Article Around MHS
9/30/2021
Air Force Capt. Sydney Sloan, 39th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion element chief (right), and Air Force Senior Airman Gloriann Manapsal, 39th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion technician (left), promote making healthy choices at the Sultan’s Inn Dining Facility on Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

The 39th Operation Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion team provides and integrates evidence-based programs to optimize the health and readiness, even during these unprecedented times.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Total Force Fitness | Coronavirus

Retired colonel leads Fort Irwin COVID response mission

Article Around MHS
9/28/2021
Army Col. Richard Hopkins, the COVID-19 response coordinator with Weed Army Community Hospital, collects paperwork from a Soldier who received the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination event.

Retired Army Col. Richard Hopkins volunteered under the Army’s COVID-19 Retiree Recall Program to return to service as the COVID-19 response coordinator for Weed Army Community Hospital and Fort Irwin, California.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts
<< < 1 2 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 2

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.