On 5 July 2023, the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) decided to offer access to COVID-19 vaccination throughout the year for women in the 22nd week of their pregnancy. This is in line with the advisory opinion of the Health Council of the Netherlands. Options for how to structure this route are currently being explored.
Fertility and trying to conceive
The vaccination does not affect fertility in men or women. During pregnancy, vaccination has no impact on the development of the placenta. This is evident from the toxicity studies conducted by all vaccine manufacturers.
Vaccination before pregnancy
People trying to become pregnant can also be vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccine-induced protection is very important if you do become pregnant, in order to prevent serious illness. COVID-19 vaccination is also safe and sensible for people who are currently receiving IVF treatment, as confirmed by the Dutch Society for Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG) and by RIVM.
Vaccination during pregnancy
Pregnant women have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. Complications may occur and they may be admitted to hospital. This has consequences for both mother and child. That is why it is important to get vaccinated if you are pregnant.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines. Based on research data and on how these vaccines work, it is safe to get these vaccines during pregnancy.
No reports of unusual side-effects in pregnant women have been registered by Lareb, the pharmacovigilance centre that tracks side-effects in the Netherlands. This is in line with the experiences reported in other countries.
More information about COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy:
- The position statement posted by the Dutch Society for Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG): Vaccination against COVID-19 in the context of pregnancy (in Dutch)
- Watch the NVOG live stream on pregnancy and vaccination against COVID-19 (in Dutch)
- Information provided by the Dutch Government:
- Information provided by the European Medicines Agency: COVID-19: Latest safety data provide reassurance about use of mRNA vaccines during pregnancy | EMA
I am pregnant. Should I get a repeat vaccination now?
If you are pregnant, you can still get a repeat vaccination against COVID-19. As a pregnant woman, you do have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. This can have consequences for mother and child. The mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) have been found to be safe for pregnant women. The Dutch Society for Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG) also recommends a repeat vaccination for pregnant women in its position statement on COVID-19 vaccination in the context of pregnancy. The repeat vaccination against COVID-19 can be given at any time during pregnancy to protect the mother from serious illness.
Women who are vaccinated during pregnancy can take part in Mothers of Tomorrow. Mothers of Tomorrow (Moeders van Morgen, part of the Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb) conducts research on the safety of vaccinations and medicines during pregnancy. You can sign up to take part via www.moedersvanmorgen.nl.
Which trimester is recommended for vaccination during pregnancy?
Vaccinations can be given throughout the pregnancy. There are no indications that vaccination during the first 12 weeks will lead to complications. Would you rather not be vaccinated during the first 12 weeks? Then schedule your vaccination after that. You should preferably not wait until the end of your pregnancy. If you are infected towards the end of your pregnancy, you have an increased risk of complications from COVID-19.
Vaccination during breastfeeding
People who are breastfeeding can also be vaccinated. There are no indications that the vaccine enters the breast milk.
Protection for the baby after the mother is vaccinated
Newborn infants are protected from infectious diseases by the antibodies they receive from their mothers through the placenta. These antibodies disappear slowly in the months after birth. The antibodies against COVID-19 that are produced by the mother go to the baby via the placenta, so vaccinating the mother can also help protect the baby against infection.
Birth control pills and other contraceptives
Vaccines have no effect on the efficacy of birth control pills or any other contraceptives. Conversely, the pill or other contraceptives do not affect how well the vaccine works.