COVID-19 Vaccination is Important for Pregnant and Lactating Veterans
The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is spreading rapidly in the United States, especially in areas with low vaccination rates. The Delta variant is much easier to spread than the original coronavirus and easier to catch than the common cold.
Pregnant people in the United States are under-vaccinated.
Only 16% of pregnant people in the U.S. received ≥ 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy
Vaccination rates against COVID-19 was lowest among the following groups of pregnant people:
Hispanic women (11.9%)
Non-Hispanic Black women (6.0%)
Women ages 18–24 (5.5%)
Pregnant people have a higher chance of severe illness, pre-term delivery, and death than non-pregnant people if they are sick with COVID-19. The risk of severe illness, preterm delivery, and death is highest for Black and Hispanic pregnant people who are sick with COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people who are pregnant, lactating, or considering getting pregnant. People do not need to avoid pregnancy or avoid breastfeeding/chestfeeding after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, vaccination against COVID-19 may provide benefits to pregnant and lactating people, such as providing some immunity to the newborn through placental transmission and through human milk.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that all eligible persons, including pregnant and lactating individuals, receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series.
Pregnant and lactating Veterans can receive free COVID-19 vaccines at their local VA and should be encouraged to do so.
Please visit this patient-facing ACOG site for more information about COVID-19 Vaccination and Pregnancy.
Point of Contact:
Alicia Christy, MD, MHSCR, FACOG, Alicia.Christy@va.gov
Colonel (retired) U.S. Army
Deputy Director, Reproductive Health
Office of Women’s Health
Last Updated: August 2, 2021