COVID-19 vaccines are recommended in pregnancy. Vaccination is the best way to protect against the known risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy for both women and babies.
Although the overall risk from COVID-19 disease in pregnant women and their new babies is low, in later pregnancy some women may become seriously unwell and need hospital treatment. This is why it's important that pregnant women have their vaccination when they're ready at any point throughout pregnancy.
Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women and their babies?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that pregnant women should be offered COVID-19 vaccines at the same time as people of the same age or risk group.
Evidence on COVID-19 vaccines is being continuously reviewed by the World Health Organization and the regulatory bodies in the UK, USA, Canada and Europe.
Thousands of women have safely been vaccinated in the UK and worldwide.
Are there side effects?
Like all medicines, the COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them. Most side effects are mild and should not last longer than a week.
Having the vaccine does not increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, stillbirth, nor does it cause infertility, increase the risk of a small-for-gestational-age baby or congenital abnormalities.
How can I get my vaccines?
- Book online
You can book a local appointment online for both your first and second doses of the vaccine at nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119.
- Walk-in clinic
You can get your first dose of the vaccine at a walk-in clinic in Barnsley. You don’t need an appointment and you don’t need to be registered with a GP. Details of upcoming vaccine clinics are available on the Barnsley CCG website.
What are the benefits of vaccination in pregnancy?
Being vaccinated while pregnant can:
- reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms if you catch the virus
- reduce the risk of early labour, stillbirth and other adverse outcomes associated with pregnant women catching COVID-19 during the third trimester
- reduce the risk of you catching or passing the virus onto other people
- potentially protect your unborn child by passing on the antibodies you create
The risks associated with COVID-19 for unvaccinated women and unborn babies is much higher in the third trimester. The best way to reduce your risk is to get the vaccine as early as possible during your pregnancy. However, having your first vaccine even in the third trimester will have a protective effect and reduce the risk.
Are pregnant women being given a COVID-19 booster vaccine?
Anyone who is pregnant and part of a group eligible can receive the COVID-19 booster vaccine. Visit the NHS website to find out which groups of people are eligible for the booster.
The JCVI advises that the booster vaccine dose should be offered at least three months after the second vaccine dose.
Like some other vaccines, levels of protection may begin to decrease over time. This booster dose will help extend the protection you gained from your first two doses and give you longer-lasting protection.
All pregnant women eligible for the COVID-19 booster vaccine are encouraged to have it when they are offered as it provides the best protection against the virus for the mother and baby.
Where can I get more information about vaccination in pregnancy?
You can speak to your maternity team, GP and health visitor for more advice and information about getting your vaccine while pregnant.
There are also frequently asked questions (FAQs) and lots of advice and guidance available:
- COVID-19 vaccination information for women of childbearing age, currently pregnant or breastfeeding (PHE)
- COVID-19 vaccines, pregnancy and breastfeeding (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists)
- Information sheet and decision aid for pregnant women (Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists)
- COVID-19 vaccination for people taking contraception (Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health)
- COVID-19 vaccination in Barnsley (Barnsley CCG)