Pregnancy testing prior to vaccination
UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA – formerly known as PHE) Immunisation Against Infectious Disease (the Green Book) advises that routine questioning about last menstrual period and/or pregnancy testing is not required before offering the vaccine. Women who are pregnant, planning pregnancy or in the immediate postpartum can be vaccinated with a suitable product.
Fertility and pre-conception Covid-19 vaccine advice
UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) state that there is no need to avoid getting pregnant after COVID-19 vaccination. They go on to advise that there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines have any effect on fertility or the chances of becoming pregnant after vaccination.
Vaccination during pregnancy
The Green book advises that there is no known risk associated with giving inactivated, recombinant viral or bacterial vaccines or toxoids during pregnancy. Since inactivated vaccines cannot replicate, they cannot cause infection in either the mother or the foetus.
UKTIS provide advice on the use of ‘non-live’ vaccines’ in pregnancy.
A recent UKHSA study has reported a similar very low risk of still birth, prematurity and low birth weight in vaccinated and unvaccinated women.
UKHSA advise pregnancy is considered a clinical risk group. Pregnant women are therefore eligible for the autumn 2023 booster programme.
Comirnaty and Spikevax vaccines are the preferred vaccines to offer to pregnant women based on extensive post-marketing experience of their use in the USA with no safety signals so far.
For those under 18 years (regardless of pregnancy status), Comirnaty is preferred.
Clinicians should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with the woman, who should be told about the limited evidence of safety data for the vaccine in pregnancy.
The following resources are readily available for further information:
- UKTIS have produced a monograph on the use of non-live vaccines in pregnancy which provides further information.
- The RCOG have developed a range of information resources for healthcare professionals and pregnant women about COVID-19 vaccination.
- Up to date leaflets and posters on vaccination in pregnancy to share with women who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding are available from the UK Health Security Agency.
- Information from the British Fertility Society (BFS) and Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists (ARCS) stating that there is absolutely no evidence, and no theoretical reason that any of the vaccines can affect the fertility of women or men removed as the link to supporting reference no longer available; BFS and ARCS guidelines in relation to COVID-19 have been stood down following the WHO declaration of the end of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern in May 2023.
- Removed information relating to AZ vaccine. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines renamed as branded products. Risk category added. Inadvertent administration and surveillance sections removed as vaccine is recommended in pregnancy.
- Wording updated to reflect Green book advice covering preferred vaccine in under 18 years and completion of vaccination at recommended interval in cases of inadvertent administration
- Updated information from the Green Book added. Information and link to UKHSA study added
- New link to recent PHE information relating to fertility. Reference to JCVI statement removed.
- Added link to leaflets and posters now available from the UKHSA. Link to PHE removed.
- Information on timing of second dose added from UKHSA guidance with link to COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting leaflet
- PHE and Royal College of Midwives resources now linked
- Updated to reference new RCOG information resources
- Linked to updated RCOG information
- Link to UKTIS website added
- Amended to include revised recommendations from JCVI and Green book
- Hyperlinks amended
- Updated to include link to RCOG Questions and Answers document
- Updated to include detailed British Fertility Society statement about impact on fertility.
- Updated page reference and wording from Green book
- RCOG press statement removed as superseded by British Fertility Society statement
- Updated to include RCOG statement about impact on fertility