Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021 – Individuals who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant are urged to seek COVID-19 vaccination – not only to protect themselves, but to protect their baby.
Emerging evidence shows that pregnant individuals are at an increased risk of complications related to COVID-19. Vaccination can give someone who is pregnant the best possible protection against the virus. Protecting the health of the mother is critical in protecting the health of a developing baby.
Pregnant women who contract COVID-19 are:
- Five times more likely to be hospitalized and spend 3.73 days longer in hospital;
- 10 times more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU);
- More likely to suffer from severe illness;
- More likely to require ventilation/life support breathing.
“We understand that people who are pregnant want to make the best possible choice to keep their baby safe,” says Dr. Ethan Toumishey, Acting Medical Officer of Health at HPEPH. “Real studies on pregnant women who have received mRNA vaccine find no evidence to suggest it is unsafe to do so, and the benefits of the protection offered through the vaccine outweigh any potential risks. You can make the safe choice for yourself, and your baby, by getting vaccinated against COVID-19.”
Several studies with more than 17,000 pregnant individuals have shown that vaccination immediately prior to and/or during pregnancy has no impact on pregnancy outcomes (i.e. no change in the rate of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, growth restriction, high blood pressure during pregnancy, medical complications of pregnancy or maternal death).
Women who are breastfeeding are advised to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine while breastfeeding is safe, effective and highly recommended.
Getting vaccinated while breastfeeding will not harm your baby, but could protect them through antibodies transmitted through breastmilk. It is especially important that lactating individuals do not feel they should stop breastfeeding in order to get the vaccine. Both the COVID-19 vaccine and breastfeeding have well-documented benefits and stopping breastfeeding has well documented risks.
Individuals who are planning to conceive, are also encouraged to get the vaccine as soon as possible. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 before getting pregnant will provide critical protection that can help reduce your risk of serious illness related to COVID-19 during pregnancy.
HPEPH understands that individuals may have additional questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccination and their baby. Additional information is available:
- At hpepublichealth.ca/covid-19-vaccines/ and Ontario.ca/covidvaccinepregnancy
- By calling our CARELine to speak to a public health nurse at 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 223. You can also email the CARELine at CARELine@hpeph.ca.
- Through the Ministry of Health’s decision-making tool.
 Munshi L, Wright JK, Zipursky J, et al. The incidence, severity, and management of COVID-19 in critically ill pregnant individuals. Science Briefs of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table
Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist
About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
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