Since March 11, 2020 we have all been living in the new norm, that of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has, unfortunately, resulted in a devastating loss of life worldwide and major changes in everyone’s livelihood with numerous risk-mitigating restrictions. One of the key strategies of the scientific community in response to the pandemic has been the development of COVID-19 vaccines which aim to reduce the risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19. Mass vaccination against COVID-19 has commenced since late 2020 in various parts of the world, with USA and UK having already fully vaccinated >40% of their population (John Hopkins Centre for COVID-19).
The Fertility Society of Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) understands that its members and the public might have specific questions regarding the use of COVID-19 vaccines in the context of pursuing a pregnancy either spontaneously or through medically assisted reproduction (MAR) and aims to provide relevant guidance based on the currently available evidence and recommendations made by other respectable scientific bodies.
Q1: Can individuals planning or trying to conceive be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Individuals planning or trying to conceive should not be excluded from the COVID-19 vaccination programs that are available in their jurisdiction. There is no evidence suggesting that the vaccination could negatively affect fertility either in women or men. Furthermore, according to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) “There is no evidence that women who become pregnant after receiving the vaccine are at increased risk of teratogenicity, miscarriage or maternal illness. Pregnancy need not be delayed after receiving the vaccine”.
For individuals undergoing MAR, it is recommended that the exact timing of their vaccination is discussed with their treating specialist.
Q2: Can pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19?
The FSANZ supports the recently published recommendations of the RANZCOG regarding COVID-19 Vaccination in pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as the joint statement between the RANZCOG and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation. These recommend “…that pregnant women are routinely offered Pfizer mRNA vaccine (Cominarty) at any stage of pregnancy”. This advice is also aligned with the advice from the New Zealand Ministry of Health.