Skip Navigation LinksVaccination-During-Pregnancy-Guidance

State of Cal Logo

State of California—Health and Human Services Agency
California Department of Public Health

May 21, 2021

All Californians

Guidance for Vaccination during Pregnancy

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consider the guidance below. You can also talk to your healthcare provider to help you in your decision whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pregnant people are more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Pregnant people are at higher risk of getting very sick with COVID-19  than people who are not pregnant. Pregnant people with COVID-19 are also at higher risk for pregnancy complications, such as high blood pressure, bleeding disorders, death and stillbirth. Pregnant people with COVID-19 may also be at higher risk for giving birth early.

Pregnant people can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pregnant and lactating people may receive any of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to protect them. Three vaccines are now authorized for use in the U.S.: Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech,  and Janssen from  Johnson & Johnson. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is 2-doses, spaced 4 weeks apart. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is 2 doses, spaced 3 weeks apart. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine is only 1 dose. These vaccines use  a small, harmless piece of the virus that triggers an immune response. This teaches our bodies how to recognize the virus, should we become infected,  and make antibodies to protect us against COVID-19. None of these vaccines contain a live virus, so you cannot get COVID-19 from vaccination. All three  vaccines are very effective at protecting against COVID-19. Because no vaccine is 100% effective, however, there's a very small chance that you may still catch COVID-19 after vaccination. However, vaccinated people are much less likely to get very sick or die from COVID-19.

There is limited but growing data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant people.

Based on how these vaccines work in the body, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a risk for people who are pregnant. There are currently limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people; however, clinical trials to evaluate the potential risks of COVID-19 vaccines to the pregnant people and their babies are underway or planned. Public health experts have analyzed data from a CDC registry of over 35,000 women who were vaccinated with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant or around the time of conception. They found no obvious safety concerns. Also, participants did not report any more complications than normal. Based on this study and other safety data, pregnancy health experts believe that the vaccine is safe and effective in pregnant people.

What else should I consider in making the decision whether to get vaccinated?

  • You may be at higher risk of getting infected with COVID-19 based on the work you do or where you live.

  • You may have other health conditions that put you at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

  • Recent studies also show that vaccinated pregnant people pass antibodies to their developing baby in the womb, so the baby is born with some protection from day one. However, we currently do not know how long the protection lasts.

  • If you recently gave birth and are breastfeeding, public health experts believe the vaccines do not pose any risks to your baby. Vaccinated mothers are likely to pass protective antibodies in breast milk to their babies.[1], [2].

If I decide to get the vaccine, what more should I know?

  • You may have side effects after vaccination, such as body aches, chills, and tiredness. These are normal for everyone.

  • If you are pregnant and get a fever after your vaccination, take acetaminophen. A fever can harm a developing baby. 

  • Some people have had severe allergic reactions to the vaccine. The CDC recommends that if you have a history of severe allergic reactions to any vaccine or injectable medicine, talk to your doctor or nurse before getting vaccinated.

  • You can enroll in v-safe, a cell phone app that provides health checks-ins after your COVID-19 vaccination.

  • You should not be denied the vaccine because you are pregnant.

  • If you are pregnant, you should also get the whooping cough (Tdap) vaccine at 27-36 weeks of pregnancy and influenza (flu) vaccine at anytime during pregnancy.

After I am vaccinated, can I begin doing things I stopped doing because of the pandemic?

If you are pregnant and do decide to get vaccinated, follow the CDPH Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated Persons Guidance and the Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings to learn more about what you can do once you are fully vaccinated*

For more information, visit the following webpages:

California COVID-19 Vaccines, COVID-19 and Pregnancy (CDC), and COVID-19 Vaccines for People who Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding (CDC).

*People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19: two weeks or more after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or two weeks or more after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen ).


[2] Perl SH, et al. JAMA. 2021;doi:10.1001/jama.2021.5782

Originally Published on May 21, 2021