Before the third wave of the pandemic, there were mixed messages about getting the COVID-19 vaccine if you were planning a pregnancy, pregnant, or breastfeeding. The sharing of disinformation on social media platforms fuelled much of the concern.
Getting vaccinated is your choice. We want you to feel confident in your decision. It's really important to make sure you understand as much as you can about COVID-19 and the vaccine so you can make an informed choice.
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, National Advisory Committee on Immunization and Ministry of Health recommend you get a complete series with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine if you're pregnant or breastfeeding as soon as possible. Pregnant people can get vaccinated against COVID-19 at any time during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. The recommendation to get vaccinated also includes people who are trying to get pregnant now or who might become pregnant in the future.
Earlier in the pandemic, we had only limited data that could support evidence-informed recommendations about the COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant and breastfeeding populations. Pregnant and breastfeeding individuals were encouraged to talk to their treating health care provider and weigh the risks and benefits to determine if they should get the vaccine or wait for more information.
We now have more than a year of experience showing outcomes of people and their babies. No safety concerns were identified in a study of more than 35,000 pregnant people who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine within 30 days of conception. This real-world evidence shows that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. As well, we have evidence of significantly increased risk for pregnant women and their unborn child if they do get COVID-19 infection.
There are two large Canadian studies that are now looking further at the safety and effectiveness of vaccines given to pregnant and breastfeeding individuals in the country.
This means you can be reassured that you are protecting yourself and your baby by getting vaccinated.
See Better Outcomes Registry and Network analytics for COVID-19 infections in pregnant individuals reported in Ontario. A national dataset of cases of COVID-19 in pregnancy is also in progress.
Like any medication, vaccines may cause mild side effects and reactions. Vaccine side effects usually happen within a few days, and always within six weeks.
Vaccines are quickly broken down and removed from your body, so they will not cause side-effects many months or years later. The only lasting impact of vaccination is the training it provides your immune system to help your body fight the COVID-19 infection.
At this point in the pandemic, people who are unvaccinated are likely to get infected. Please consider the very real risks of COVID-19 to you and your children.
According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, although most children with COVID-19 require only supportive care, infants are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 infections. Clinical trials are underway for infants and children under five years of age. You can protect them now by getting vaccinated and following public health measures.
No. Don't wait to get vaccinated. Vaccines are quickly broken down and removed from your body. The only lasting impact of vaccination is the training it provides your immune system. Health Canada approved vaccines have passed quality and safety standards.
Health Canada posts weekly reports on vaccine safety. Careful, ongoing monitoring of the COVID-19 vaccines will continue. There is also longer-term follow-up of those who were vaccinated as part of the clinical trails.
Evidence shows that it's rare to pass COVID-19 to your baby during pregnancy. Once your baby is born, they can get COVID-19 from other people, so it's important to limit their contact with others and follow public health measures.
If you get vaccinated during your pregnancy, the antibodies that the mRNA vaccines produce will transfer across the placenta, providing protection to your baby.
Learn more about caring for a newborn during COVID-19.
According to Public Health Ontario's evidence brief on COVID-19 vaccines and fertility, there is no evidence of an association between COVID-19 vaccination and menstrual irregularities to date. Several clinical studies are in progress and evidence will continue to be monitored.
Factors like stress, anxiety and nutrition can affect menstruation. Changes to the menstrual cycle have been reported following infection with COVID-19 and in women affected by long-COVID. It's important that anyone experiencing menstrual disorders and / or unexpected vaginal bleeding, such as post-menopausal bleeding, seek medical advice.
According to Public Health Ontario, there is no evidence to date to suggest that COVID-19 vaccination impacts male fertility. Studies evaluating male sperm parameters before and after receiving two doses of mRNA vaccine have not demonstrated differences. Evidence has shown a rare impact on male fertility after COVID-19 infection .
Unless otherwise contraindicated, couples or individuals planning to conceive should receive the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. To learn more about contraindications, visit "What medical exemptions are accepted for the COVID-19 vaccine?" .
No. According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, there is no evidence or reason to suspect that the COVID-19 vaccine could impair male or female fertility.
While the proteins syncytin-1 (used for placental implantation) and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein have several similar amino acids, they remain vastly different. The antibodies produced against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein will not block syncitin-1.
The concern around fertility seems to have started as a random Internet rumour that has gained traction. This rumour is false. Some people who voice this concern speak of "fertility research" around this vaccine. However, no such research exists. This is all driven by rumors. Overwhelmingly, medical science experts agree that currently there is no evidence of an increased risk of infertility after COVID-19 vaccination. Check the reliability of any online news before sharing.
Unfortunately, during the third wave, people who were pregnant were at high risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19. If anything, those planning to become pregnant soon have a greater need to be vaccinated than others.
If you got pregnant after receiving your first dose, you can get your second dose as scheduled. Visit the COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions page for information on what side effects may be like after your second dose.
Check with your physician or fertility specialist.
Yes. You can get vaccinated at any time during your pregnancy. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization preferentially recommends that a complete vaccine series with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine be offered to pregnant individuals.
Watch a short video from Niagara Health's Chief of Staff, Dr. Johan Viljoen, about getting the vaccine while you're pregnant.
Pregnancy care providers in Ontario are sharing a video message for pregnant individuals in multiple languages.
The risk of serious illness from COVID-19 outweighs any risk of being vaccinated during pregnancy. During the third wave, people who were pregnant were at high risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19.
Adding to this concern:
While not required, it's best to speak with your health care provider to help you decide if the vaccine is right for you. Learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated.
Yes. You can get any of Canada's approved COVID-19 vaccines when you're breastfeeding. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization preferentially recommends that a complete vaccine series with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine be offered to breastfeeding individuals.
Recent data shows that mRNA from vaccines don't transfer into breast milk. Anti-COVID-19 antibodies produced by the breastfeeding person have been shown to transfer through the milk and provide protection to the infant. The vaccines are safe for the breastfeeding person.
Talk to your health care provider about the decision to get vaccinated.
For questions about COVID-19 vaccination, call the COVID-19 Info-Line at 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074, press 7.