Just the facts: COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant or breastfeeding women

2/4/2021

​​Experts believe benefits can outweigh risks, but it's a personal decision

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A message from Dr. Unjali Malhotra, Women's Health Director; Lucy Barney, Cultural Advisor, Patient Experience (Titqet Nation); Barbara Webster, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Maternal Child Health

Your pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and parenting journey is unique to you – with many exciting and wonderful experiences throughout. During these challenging times, however, you may share concerns about both COVID-19 and the vaccine for it.

We're hearing from many of you who are pregnant, that in addition to the feelings of stress related to the pandemic, you've had to deal with changes such as fewer appointments -- which are now sometimes virtual -– as well as changes to your birth plans. On top of all this, you're faced with decisions you never expected you would have to make.

Now, with COVID-19 vaccine clinics starting, you have yet another decision to make: “Should I take the vaccine?" 

We understand you may be concerned. Of course you want to make the best decisions for yourself, your baby, your family, and your community, for now and future generations!

You may be wondering, “Does it work? Is it safe? Should I get it?"

The answer to all three questions is “yes." However, rest assured that the decision to take the vaccine is strictly up to you. Once you gain knowledge and feel comfortable about how the vaccine works, you can make an informed decision. To help you do this, we've gathered the following facts:

• Vaccines are safe. They undergo thorough testing and many steps are taken to meet standards and ensure they are safe and work. This includes testing a large number of people (research studies) before they are used in public immunization programs.

• Vaccines are important and have saved countless lives. For example, thanks to the smallpox vaccine, the last natural case of smallpox (which used to cause death all around the world) occurred in 1977. See Why vaccinate? on ImmunizeBC for more information.

• Canada's experts on this subject, The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, have found that the risks of getting sick with COVID-19 during pregnancy can be greater than the potential side effects of getting the vaccine during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. For more information, see the SOGC Statement on COVID-19 Vaccination in Pregnancy and the NACI Recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines​.

• For more information on the COVID vaccine, please see our fact sheet, “What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine.​"​

We hope this information has been helpful to you. We know that this is a highly personal decision, and understand if you are feeling uncertain. We encourage you to speak to a trusted health care professional if you still have questions or concerns.​ 
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