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COVID-19 vaccine recommended for pregnant, breastfeeding or individuals trying to conceive

Niagara Region Public Health and Niagara’s Community Coordination Task Force for COVID-19 Vaccination are urging individuals who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as vaccine uptake among those groups in Niagara remains low.

As of Oct. 3, 2021, Niagara was well below the provincial average in vaccinating pregnant individuals. Niagara is currently seventh lowest out of 34 health units across Ontario, with only 57 per cent of pregnant individuals that have received a first dose of COVID-19, and only 49 per cent having received a second dose.

Evidence continues to build that pregnant and postpartum individuals have an increased risk of COVID-19 related illness. Severe COVID-19 infection during pregnancy has important implications for both maternal and fetal health. Although most pregnant individuals who become infected will have mild-to-moderate symptoms and many can be asymptomatic, both Canadian and international data demonstrate that approximately seven to 11 per cent of pregnant persons will require hospitalization for COVID-related illness and between one to four per cent of pregnant individuals require admission to an intensive care unit (ICU). When ICU admission is required, often the pregnancy is lost.

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the most effective way to protect the pregnant person and their unborn child. The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations as well as the Society of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists of Canada have both said that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, Moderna’s SpikeVax and Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty, are safe and recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding individuals.

“Pregnant persons are at much greater risk of being hospitalized or put on a ventilator than others of their same age. When it happens, it is doubly awful because not only is the mother’s life threatened, but so is the unborn child’s. Thankfully, we have very effective and safe vaccines that can almost completely eliminate these heart-breaking outcomes”. If you are pregnant or around someone who is pregnant, let’s get vaccinated and prevent such tragedies.” – Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Medical Officer of Health (Acting)

"I believe that vaccinating pregnant women against COVID-19 is the best way to protect them and their unborn babies against the potentially devastating effects of this virus. Pregnant women in Niagara should not be put at greater risk than others in the province and our Task Force wishes to do all it can to ensure they have all the accurate and reliable information they need to make an informed choice regarding COVID-19 vaccination." – Dr. David Dec, Chair, Community Coordination Task Force for COVID-19 Vaccination

Those who are pregnant or are considering getting pregnant should speak with a trusted healthcare provider about getting the COVID-19 vaccines. They are also encouraged to check out the many COVID-19 resources made available through Public Health, or contact the COVID-19 Info-Line to ask questions by calling 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074, press 7, or use the COVID-19 Live Chat.

Niagara Region Public Health and the Task Force are also calling on healthcare providers, including obstetricians, family doctors, midwives, doulas and others who work with pregnant individuals, to proactively talk about COVID-19 vaccination with their clients, and share factual, up-to-date information from reputable sources in their conversations with them. COVID-19 resources for healthcare providers who work with pregnant individuals are also available to help build confidence and reduce barriers to COVID-19 vaccination. 

Media Inquiries

Courtney Westerhof
Niagara Region Public Health

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