These COVID-19 vaccine FAQs have been designed to address common queries relating to women’s health.

Please also see our other COVID-19 FAQs for more information on other COVID-19 related topics:

For ease of reference, information has been categorised as per the below themes:

This page will be updated on a regular basis as further information becomes available regarding COVID-19 vaccines.

For questions that have not been addressed on this page or our dedicated COVID-19 resource page, please contact us here.

Planning pregnancy

  • Can COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility?

    There is currently no evidence to suggest that any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, can result in male or female infertility.

    During COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, participants became pregnant at similar rates in both the vaccine groups and placebo groups.

    For more information please refer to:

  • Can COVID-19 vaccines be given to women who are planning pregnancy?

    Yes. COVID-19 vaccination of women who are planning pregnancy is safe, effective and strongly recommended. They do not need to avoid becoming pregnant before or after receiving vaccines.

    Pregnant women are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection and it’s complications compared with non-pregnant women of the same age. There is also an increased risk of premature delivery and hospitalisation for infant’s of mothers who contract COVID-19 during pregnancy.

    Women who do not receive COVID-19 vaccines prior to conception, are prioritised to receive COVID-19 vaccines during their pregnancy as part of Phase 1b of the vaccine rollout.

    For more information please refer to:

  • Can COVID-19 vaccines negatively affect ovaries?

    There are no concerns that COVID-19 vaccines negatively affect fertility.

    There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccination is harmful for ovaries or fallopian tubes. There is also no evidence that COVID-19 mRNA from vaccines build up or accumulate in ovaries to levels that cause detrimental effects to their function. The quality of the eggs produced and ability for an egg to be fertilised is not affected by COVID-19 vaccination.

  • Can people undergoing IVF be vaccinated against COVID-19?

    Evidence from COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials demonstrates that vaccination does not affect the success of IVF.

    There is no evidence to suggest that vaccination has any impact on egg quality, egg number, sperm, or the ability to fertilise an egg. There is no increased risk of miscarriage following vaccination.

    Side effects from COVID-19 vaccines will not have any impact your fertility treatment, therefore individuals can be reassured that they can be vaccinated at any time during their IVF journey.

    The vaccines available in Australia do not contain live virus and therefore are safe for women trying to conceive, with no negative impact on mums or their unborn babies.

    For more information please refer to: RANZCOG urges all practitioners to help pregnant women get vaccinated.

Pregnancy

  • Can COVID-19 vaccines be given during pregnancy?

    Yes. Due to an increased risk of severe outcomes for pregnant women and their unborn babies it is recommended that pregnant women are routinely offered Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna) at any stage of pregnancy. Pregnant women are considered a priority group to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

    Whilst pregnant women were not included in the initial clinical trials, surveillance of international data on mRNA COVID-19 vaccine administration in pregnant women has shown no significant safety concerns for either the mother or the baby. Further to this, antibodies have been detected in the cord blood and breastmilk of vaccinated women, suggesting a transfer of protection to the baby.

    For more information please refer to:

  • Does pregnancy meet the current priority group eligibility criteria for a COVID-19 vaccination?

    Yes. Pregnant women are at a greater risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 infection and are therefore are a priority for COVID-19 vaccination.

  • Is there a preferred stage of pregnancy to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

    Pregnant women can be offered an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during any stage of pregnancy. Data obtained from international surveillance of large numbers of pregnant women receiving COVID-19 vaccines has not indicated a preferred gestation for administration, and indicates that vaccination is safe and efficacious during any stage of pregnancy.

  • Is it safe for women who previously received a primary course of COVID-19 vaccines to receive a booster dose if it is due during pregnancy?

    Yes. Due to an increased likelihood of severe symptoms if infected with COVID-19, it is important that pregnant women are optimally protected. This includes administering a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy if ≥ 6 months has passed since the primary course of COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Are there risks of long term effects to babies we don’t know about yet given the lack of longitudinal data?

    Evidence obtained from international surveillance of pregnant women receiving COVID-19 vaccines has shown no unexpected outcomes (above background rates) for pregnancies or for infants when followed up to 3 months of age. Side effects experienced following vaccination are consistent with the expected side effects reported in non-pregnant vaccine recipients.

    Long term follow-up of pregnant women who receive a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy, and their infants, is ongoing.

    For more information refer to:

  • Can pregnant women receive their whooping cough, influenza and COVID-19 vaccines on the same day?

    The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advise that COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered on the same day as influenza vaccines.

    Whilst there is new evidence on the safety and immunogenicity on co-administering COVID-19 vaccines and influenza vaccines, there is currently no data on the co-administration of COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines. Co-administering other vaccines on the same day or administering within a few days results in the potential for an increase in mild to moderate adverse events and may make the attribution of adverse events difficult.

    For more information please refer to COVID-19 vaccination- ATAGI clinical guidance on COVID-19 vaccine in Australia in 2021.

    For further information on vaccines recommended in pregnancy, refer to MVEC: Maternal vaccinations in pregnancy.

  • Are pregnant women who are classified as high-risk of thrombosis and on anticoagulant therapy recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

    It is recommended that all pregnant women are offered a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna)) due to a higher risk of severe disease if exposed to COVID-19. There is no evidence of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTS) occurring following mRNA vaccines.  TTS is not related to the usual risk factors for developing thrombosis.

  • If a pregnant women received dose 1 of Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) prior to conception, which vaccine brand is recommended for dose 2?

    It is important that pregnant women are protected against COVID-19 due to the increased risk of severe outcomes for pregnant women (and their babies) compared with non-pregnant women of the same age.

    Two doses of COVID-19 vaccines are required for optimal protection against circulating strains. Women who are pregnant and have received one dose of Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) vaccine prior to conception can complete their vaccine course with either a dose of Vaxzevria or a dose of Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna) (which are preferred in pregnancy).

    There is growing evidence on the safety of mRNA vaccines when used in pregnancy and limited safety data on using viral vectored vaccines (eg. Vaxzevria). There is comparatively less data on the use of mixed schedules than completing a “traditional schedule” of the same brand. An individual discussion with an immunisation specialist may be warranted to assess the risks and benefits and determine which brand of vaccine is right for them.

    For further information, refer to COVID-19 vaccine – Clinical considerations: pregnant women.

  • Are COVID-19 vaccines as effective in pregnant women as they are in non-pregnant women?

    Current evidence from international surveillance of COVID-19 vaccination of pregnant women has shown that pregnant women have a similar immune response to COVID-19 vaccines compared with non-pregnant women. Conversely pregnant women are at a greater risk of severe COVID-19 disease compared with non-pregnant women of the same age if exposed to COVID-19.

  • If a pregnant woman is vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine, does that provide any protection for the foetus?

    Research has demonstrated that in women who received COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy, antibodies against COVID-19 disease have been detected in breast milk and cord blood. This may offer some protection via passive immunity to the infant. The extent and duration of this transferred immunity is unknown

    For more information refer to the COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy.

  • Are pregnant adolescents < 12yo recommended to have a COVID-19 vaccine?

    Yes. Pregnant women should be routinely offered mRNA COVID-19 vaccination at any stage of pregnancy.

    Comirnaty (Pfizer)  and Spikevax (Moderna) are provisionally registered for use in individuals aged > 12 years.

Breastfeeding

  • Can women who are breastfeeding receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

    Yes. It is safe for women who are breastfeeding to receive COVID-19 vaccines. They do not need to stop breastfeeding before or after being vaccinated.

    Antibodies have been detected in breastmilk and therefore this may also offer some protection to the infant via passive immunity.

  • Can breastfeeding women receive Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca)?

    Yes. Whilst Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Spikevax (Moderna) are the preferred brands of COVID-19 vaccine for individuals aged under 60 years due to the potential risk for thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, breastfeeding women (who have not previously received an alternate brand of COVID-19 vaccine) can still receive Vaxzevria if they make an informed decision to do so. Whilst there is minimal safety data available, there are no theoretical concerns over the administration of non-live vaccines and babies of breastfeeding mothers who are immunised.

  • Can a breastfed infant receive their own vaccines if their mother has recently received a COVID-19 vaccine? Does there need to be an interval between mum's vaccines and the infant's vaccines?

    There is no impact on vaccine safety or efficacy for breastfed infants who are due to be immunised with their own vaccines in circumstances where their mother has recently received a COVID-19 vaccine.

    Breastfeeding women can safely continue to breastfeed their infants following vaccination with any COVID-19 vaccine.

    It is recommended that infants of immunised mothers receive all National Immunisation Program vaccines as scheduled. An interval between the mother’s COVID-19 vaccine and the infant’s vaccines is not required.

Menstruation

  • Can COVID-19 vaccines cause menstrual changes?

    Changes in menstrual patterns commonly occur for a variety of reasons including stress and illness (eg. COVID-19 disease).

    There have been some reports of changes to menstrual patterns by women who have received COVID-19 vaccines (mRNA vaccines and adenoviral vectored vaccines), both within Australia and internationally. Similar temporary symptoms have also been reported following administration of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Any changes noted in menstrual patterns following COVID-19 vaccination are likely to be short-lived, with those reporting initial changes also reporting menstrual patterns returning to normal the following cycle. Changes in menstrual patterns does not indicate a negative effect on fertility.

    For more information please refer to BMJ: Menstrual changes after COVID-19 vaccination.

  • I developed menorrhagia or amenorrhea following COVID-19 vaccination. Can I still receive dose 2?

    Yes. For optimal protection 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccines is recommended.

    While formal studies on the menstrual patterns of COVID-19 vaccine recipients have not been conducted, changes in menstrual patterns were not reported by participants in initial vaccine clinical trials.

    A small study involving women of child-bearing age with confirmed COVID-19 infections investigated the effects of the illness on ovarian reserve, sex hormones and menstruation. A quarter of women reported changes in the volume of their periods; with 20% of participants reporting lighter periods and a further 19% reporting longer periods during their illness. These changes were shown to be more common in those with multisystem involvement in their illness. Menstrual changes resolved within 1-2 months of disease recovery. Sex hormones were not affected and it was concluded that transient effects of the illness were the likely cause of the changes.

    It is thought that any changes to menstrual cycles noticed by vaccine recipients are likely explained by factors such as stress, increased perceptions/attention to menstrual cycles or concurrent illnesses. Vaccines trigger an immune response and do not have any direct impact on the function of ovaries.

    For more information refer to CHOP- News & views: Reproductive health and COVID-19 vaccines.

Authors: Daryl Cheng (Medical Lead, MVEC), Nigel Crawford (Director SAEFVIC, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute), Rachael McGuire (MVEC Education Nurse Coordinator) and Francesca Machingaifa (MVEC Education Nurse Coordinator).

Reviewed by: Francesca Machingaifa (MVEC Education Nurse Coordinator) and Rachael McGuire (MVEC Education Nurse Coordinator)

Date: November 3, 2021

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family’s personal health. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult a healthcare professional.