New Study Confirms COVID-19 Vaccines Are Safe For Pregnant People

Misinformation and fears around COVID-19 vaccines have led to confusion around pregnant people getting vaccinated, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In fact, 24% of people who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant still believe that pregnant people shouldn't get vaccinated, and 37% aren't sure what to believe. Now, a new study published in The Lancet may finally confirm the vaccines' safety for this population.

Preventing COVID-19 is important for everyone, but it's especially important for those who are pregnant, recently pregnant, or trying to get pregnant (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The risk of COVID-19 is still low for pregnant people, but if they do become infected, the risk of severe illness is higher than for those who aren't pregnant. There's also an increased risk of complications during pregnancy that can affect the developing baby as well.

The best way for pregnant people to avoid severe illness — which includes hospitalization, entering an intensive care unit, and the use of a ventilator — is by getting vaccinated. Preventative measures can also help, like wearing a mask when appropriate.

Evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are safe

The large, Canadian study found that Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are safe for pregnant people (via WebMD). Not only that, but they found that pregnant people who were vaccinated had even lower risk of significant health events as compared to non-pregnant, vaccinated people. Significant health events were defined as a medical consultation, the need to miss school or work, or being prevented from daily activities.

Between December 2020 and November 2021, researchers surveyed three groups of women: those who were pregnant and vaccinated, pregnant and unvaccinated, and vaccinated but not pregnant. The vaccinated participants recorded observed health problems for a week after each shot, and then completed a survey after seven days. The unvaccinated participants recorded health problems for a week leading up to the survey. There were a total of 191,360 people who received a first dose of the vaccine and 94,937 who received a second.

Findings showed that 4% of those who were pregnant and vaccinated reported a significant health event within a week following their first dose, and 7.3% reported one after their second dose. Of the pregnant unvaccinated women, 3.2% reported comparable events. Interestingly, significant health events were reported by 6.3% of unvaccinated pregnant women after the first dose, and 11.3% after the second dose. Serious health events, such as a hospitalization, were reported by less than 1% in all groups, and rates of miscarriage or stillbirth didn't differ.