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

December 20, 2021

All Californians

Guidance for Vaccination During Pregnancy

​​​​​​​​​​This Guidance is no longer in effect and is for historical purposes only. For more information on vaccine and pregnancy guidance, see the COVID-19 Vaccine and Pregnancy ​ (PDF)

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 should get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pregnant and lactating people should choose between the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to protect them and may consider discussing with their usual healthcare provider. 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. People who are pregnant may also receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot either six months after a two-dose Moderna or Pfizer series or two months after a one-dose Johnson & Johnson series. If you received a Johnson & Johnson dose, strongly consider getting a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot. These vaccines use a small, harmless piece of the virus that triggers an immune response. The immune system can then recognize the virus, should it infect the body, and make antibodies to protect against COVID-19.

If you are pregnant, you are at higher risk for severe COVID-19.

Pregnant people or recently pregnant (within 42 days postpartum) are at higher risk for getting very sick with COVID-19[1], this includes the risk of being hospitalized, being in the intensive care unit or requiring help breathing through mechanical ventilation) compared to people who are not pregnant and get sick with COVID-19. In addition, pregnant people are at increased risk of pre-term birth (delivering a baby before 37 weeks).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for all people 5 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe for you and your baby.

CDC followed more than 35,000 pregnant people who were vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. No safety concerns were identified. The vaccines provided in the U.S. do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot infect you or your baby with COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines are effective.

The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for pregnant people because of the protection they provide against COVID-19. The vaccine works by triggering an immune response in the body, causing the body to produce protective antibodies.

Breastfeeding people can receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe for breastfeeding people and their babies. Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received COVID-19 mRNA vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies.

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 in addition to pregnancy 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 fetus 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.
  • You may wish to consult with your medical provider if you have additional concerns regarding the decision whether to get vaccinated.

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 and they are temporary.
  • If you are pregnant and get a fever after your vaccination, consult with your provider but  acetaminophen (Tylenol®) is safe in pregnancy. A fever can harm a developing fetus. 
  • Some people have had severe allergic reactions to the vaccine. 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 anytime during pregnancy.

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

If you are pregnant and decide to get vaccinated, follow the CDC fully vaccinated 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 VaccinesCOVID-19 and Pregnancy (CDC), and COVID-19 Vaccines for People who Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding (CDC).



*Refer to the CDC Fully Vaccinated Guidance for the full definition of "fully vaccinated."

[1] Pregnant and Recently Pregnant People | CDC

Originally Published on May 21, 2021