How to get vaccinated
Your maternity hospital or GP can arrange your vaccination if you are pregnant.
You can also
You will be offered either the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. These are mRNA vaccines.
You will only be offered the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine if you are aged 30 or over.
Read about COVID-19 vaccine types
COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines
If you are due to get a flu or pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.
Flu vaccines are usually offered between October and April.
The whooping cough vaccine is recommended between 16 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. It is usually available throughout the year from your GP.
As a precaution if you have recently had a monkeypox vaccine (Imvanex or Jynneos), wait 4 weeks before you get a COVID-19 vaccine. This is because of the unknown risk of myocarditis. Myocarditis is an inflammatory heart condition.
COVID-19 infection during pregnancy
Most pregnant women who get the virus get mild to moderate symptoms. They give birth as planned and the risk of passing on COVID-19 to their baby is low.
But you are more likely to get very unwell and need treatment in intensive care than a woman who is not pregnant. The virus may also cause complications for your baby.
Vaccine protects you and your baby
Being vaccinated will reduce the chance of you becoming very unwell from COVID-19 and reduce the chance of complications for your baby.
The latest research shows that getting an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy lowers the risk of stillbirth by 15%.
COVID-19 vaccines are not shown to have any negative effect on babies in the womb. They may actually help to protect your baby after birth as you may pass on antibodies from the vaccine to your baby.
Read more about COVID-19 and pregnancy
Evidence shows COVID-19 vaccines are safe
Pregnant women in Ireland have been safely getting the COVID-19 vaccine since May 2021. There has been no increase in reported side effects from COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women or their babies anywhere in the world.
But COVID-19 vaccines are new. We are still learning about them. There is limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy. They were not tested on pregnant women during clinical trials. Trials are now taking place.
The COVID-19 vaccines are not live vaccines. This means they cannot give you or your baby COVID-19. The vaccine doses are rapidly broken down in your body. They cannot become part of your or your baby’s DNA.
If you decide not to get vaccinated
You may decide to wait until your baby is born or until you have more information before getting a vaccine.
If you wait, there is a greater risk you will become very unwell if you get COVID-19. There are also risks for your baby.
Take extra care to protect yourself against COVID-19 if you decide not to get vaccinated.
Avoid situations where you could pick up the virus. This includes crowded areas or communities with high rates of the virus.
If you are trying for a baby
You do not need to leave any gap between having your COVID-19 vaccine and:
Fertility and COVID-19 vaccination
There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination affects fertility. Do not put off having a vaccine because you are hoping to get pregnant.
There is no evidence that the vaccine has any link to irregular periods.
If you are breastfeeding
You can get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are breastfeeding. This will protect you from getting seriously unwell due to COVID-19.
You can continue to breastfeed safely after being vaccinated.
COVID-19 vaccines do not affect breastfed babies. There is no known reason to avoid breastfeeding if you are vaccinated.
Getting a vaccine cannot infect your baby with COVID-19.
If you were vaccinated while pregnant, antibodies against COVID-19 may pass into your first breast milk or colostrum. This may give some protection from the virus to your baby.
Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild to moderate and do not last long.
You can take paracetamol if you have a fever (temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or higher). Do not take ibuprofen or aspirin.
Read about COVID-19 vaccine side effects