COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy: What you should know

September 24, 2021

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is a simple step you can take to protect yourself and others around you from the virus, and help BC return to a more normal way of life. While British Columbians are continuing to sign up for their first and second doses, to protect themselves and their communities, there are still many instances of unvaccinated people with serious COVID infections lying in intensive care across the province—including a number of pregnant patients.

In a recent press conference, Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry spoke about the impact COVID-19 has had on pregnant unvaccinated patients, and urged pregnant British Columbians who have not been vaccinated, to make that call and register for their first dose. Over the course of the pandemic, about 40 pregnant people, most of them unvaccinated, were admitted to ICUs due to COVID-19 with much worse levels of severe illness, the majority of them in the past few months since the Delta variant began to dominate daily case counts.


Dr Matthew Chow, president of Doctors of BC, echoed Dr Henry’s comments: “It is so important for pregnant individuals to be vaccinated against COVID-19. There is robust Canadian data showing that pregnant individuals are at greater risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19, and this can also impact on their infants. Follow-up of tens of thousands of pregnant individuals in the US who have been vaccinated show no adverse impacts on the pregnancy or on the infant. Vaccination protects you and protects your baby.”

COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy: Safe, effective, protective

  • All vaccines approved for use in Canada are not only safe, but recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or thinking about conceiving. In May 2021, the provincial government announced that COVID-19 vaccines would be available to pregnant people.
  • The Canadian Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, and public health experts in BC all agree that people in this category should be vaccinated.
  • According to the BCCDC, if you are pregnant and unvaccinated, and become infected with COVID-19, you are three times more likely to end up in ICU than people infected with the virus who are not pregnant.
  • Preterm birth and neonatal intensive care visits for new babies have been shown to be more likely to happen to pregnant individuals who have COVID-19.
  • By getting vaccinated, you are helping your body produce antibodies that will protect you if you get exposed to COVID-19.These antibodies are also passed to your child through milk, and may prevent them getting sick.

If you or someone you know is hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine, check out our article that answers common questions many people have about getting immunized.