COVID-19 Vaccine & Pregnancy
Mayo Clinic is following the guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine.
Here are resources that may help with your decision about getting vaccinated:
Featured TopicCOVID-19 vaccination planJanuary 14, 2021
Our ThoughtsPreparing fair, safe COVID-19 vaccine distributionDecember 18, 2020
Featured TopicCOVID-19 vaccine myths debunkedDecember 08, 2020
Speaking of HealthVaccine safety: 6 common questions answeredDecember 04, 2020
Featured TopicCOVID-19 vaccination FAQDecember 02, 2020
COVID-19 Vaccine: Guidance from Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic experts agree: You should get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's available to you.
- The vaccines we’re recommending have been approved for safe use.
- Vaccine distribution will occur in phases, with those at highest risk in the earliest phases.
- Mayo Clinic will continue to coordinate with state and local governments on future vaccine distribution phases.
- If you are a Mayo Clinic Health System patient, Mayo Clinic will contact you about scheduling an appointment. Please wait to hear from us to schedule a vaccination appointment.
- Practice social distancing, wear a mask properly outside your home, wash your hands frequently, and follow your state and local recommendations until the spread has stopped.
- The vaccine may not be recommended to those with certain health conditions. When you are contacted by Mayo Clinic to schedule your vaccination, you should talk to your health care provider if you have questions about receiving the vaccine.
Scheduling a COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment
Phase 1a eligible health care workers, plus fire and police personnel, including correctional officers, now can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at Mayo Clinic Health System in Wisconsin.
Get vaccination details for your location:
- Northwest Wisconsin
(Barron, Bloomer, Eau Claire, Menomonie, Osseo)
- Southwest Wisconsin
(La Crosse, Sparta)
- Southeast Minnesota (coming soon)
(Albert Lea, Austin, Cannon Falls, Lake City, Owatonna, Red Wing)
- Southwest Minnesota (coming soon)
(includes hospitals in Fairmont, Mankato, New Prague, St. James and Waseca)
How will I know when I can schedule my COVID-19 vaccination appointment?
There is nothing you need to do at this time. When you qualify to be vaccinated you can expect an email or a letter from your care team and updates on Patient Online Services, our patient portal, about scheduling your vaccination appointment. You also can monitor this page to see when we have moved to a phase that better matches your eligibility.
Why you should get the COVID-19 vaccine
Vaccines are an essential tool in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting vaccinated can prevent you from getting the infection, including severe infections that can send you to the hospital. Safe and effective vaccines are available for adults at higher risk of having serious complications from COVID-19 and for frontline and emergency health care providers.
Dr. Robert Jacobson, medical director of the Primary Care Immunization Program at Mayo Clinic, explains why these vaccines are safe and why he recommends people in those groups take a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible:
FAQ for COVID-19 Vaccination
Who should be vaccinated against COVID-19 infection?
Vaccination will be recommended for everyone, but supplies will be limited at first. Federal and state authorities call for health care personnel to be offered vaccine in the first phase of the program, starting with hospital workers, emergency responders and long-term care staff.
The initial priority will be to vaccinate health care personnel who are at high occupational risk for exposure to COVID-19 and those working in roles that are essential to the COVID-19 response. Mayo Clinic expects that the program will expand to all health care personnel soon, as well as patients at high risk of COVID-19 infection and complications.
Mayo Clinic will follow the guidance provided by federal and state authorities to prioritize groups for vaccinations. The guidelines have been developed by numerous national bodies, including the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.
To develop a strategy for equitable allocation of limited vaccine supplies, these guidelines consider the risks of:
- Acquiring infection
- Severe morbidity and mortality
- Negative societal effects
- Transmitting infection to others
As availability improves, vaccines will be offered to all others in accordance to federal and state guidelines.
When will Mayo Clinic start vaccinating people for COVID-19?
The first COVID-19 vaccine to be available under federal emergency use authorization is expected sometime in December 2020 or early January 2021. At that time, Mayo Clinic will begin vaccinating health care staff members at high occupational risk.
Limited supplies may mean that the program initially focuses on specific high-risk groups, but the program will expand to include all staff and patients. Mayo Clinic anticipates having enough vaccine for everyone who wants it in 2021.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
Mayo Clinic will recommend the use of those vaccines that it deems to be safe. While there are many COVID-19 vaccine candidates in development, early interim data are encouraging for BNT162b2, the vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. This is likely to be the first vaccine that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorizes for emergency use, likely in late December, or early January 2021. This vaccine was created using technology based on the molecular structure of the virus. This vaccine will be free from materials of animal origin and synthesized by an efficient, cell-free process without preservatives. It has been studied in approximately 43,000 people.
To receive emergency use authorization, the biopharmaceutical manufacturer must have followed at least half of the study participants for at least two months after completing the vaccination series, and the vaccine must be proven safe and effective in that population. In addition to the safety review by the FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has convened a panel of vaccine safety experts to independently evaluate the safety data from the clinical trial. Mayo Clinic vaccine experts also will review available data. The safety of COVID-19 vaccine is being closely monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Is the vaccine safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women?
On Dec. 12, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, including authorization to vaccinate pregnant and breastfeeding women. The U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine that these patients discuss vaccination with their health care providers. They should discuss the benefits and risks, and consider what is known and what is not known to make an informed decision with the expectation that many would proceed with vaccination.
What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?Early-phase studies of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine show that it is safe. However, about 15% of people developed transient local symptoms and half developed transient systemic reactions, primarily headache, chills, fatigue, or muscle pain or fever. These transient reactions, which indicate a person's immune system is responding to the vaccine, resolved without complication or injury.
The side effects for the COVID-19 vaccine are identical to the virus itself. If people are vaccinated and develop side effects or symptoms, would they have to be tested for COVID-19?Vaccine recipients will be provided with guidance on how to interpret side effects and symptoms, and what actions they should take following vaccination.
How effective is the COVID-19 vaccination?Although phase 3 trial results are not available, experimental vaccine interim data indicate 90% efficacy after two doses. Efficacy is the measure of effectiveness obtained from a randomized controlled clinical trial. Further details regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine, such as how long the vaccination offers protection, are not yet available.
How many doses does COVID-19 vaccination require?With the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, two doses are given 21 days apart. Most other COVID-19 vaccines that are expected over the next few months are anticipated to be given over two doses 28 days apart. So far, only one vaccine can be given as a single dose.
Will I have a choice of which vaccine I will get?At this time, patients cannot choose which vaccine to receive. Given initial limited supplies, Mayo will distribute available vaccines to the highest risk groups based on guidance from Public Health authorities.
How long will a COVID-19 vaccination offer protection?At this time, the Moderna vaccine offers immunity of at least three months. For the other vaccines, it is not yet known how long COVID-19 vaccination will offer protection. Periodic boosters, such as with the annual flu shot, may or may not be needed.
Aren't masking, social distancing and self-quarantining reasonable alternatives to COVID-19 vaccination?
Given the extent of COVID-19 spread in the U.S., masking, social distancing and self-quarantining will not be enough to contain the pandemic. Developing large-scale immunity in the community through vaccination is key to stopping the pandemic.
Everyone will need to continue to take precautions, such as masking and physical distancing, until the spread has stopped. Until then, COVID-19 spread can continue in the community from people who have or don't have symptoms.
A person can be contagious for as many as 14 days without symptoms. A person can develop symptoms but be contagious before symptoms start. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others, beginning two days before symptoms develop and up to 10 days after becoming sick.
Will my primary provider offer vaccination for COVID-19?Your primary care provider will not offer vaccination for COVID-19 at this time. The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to patients in a phased approach. The vaccination will be available to Mayo Clinic primary care patients at some point in the future, likely at centralized locations.
Can those who have had COVID-19 get vaccinated for COVID-19?Yes. Mayo Clinic recommends getting vaccinated for COVID-19, even in those who have had COVID-19 previously. However, those that had COVID-19 should delay vaccination until about 90 days from diagnosis. People should not get vaccinated if in quarantine after exposure or if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I got the flu vaccine?Yes. Mayo Clinic recommends all its staff and patients get the flu vaccine and when it becomes available, the COVID-19 vaccine.
Will persons who get the vaccine still have to wear a face mask?Yes. While the vaccine is highly effective at preventing symptomatic and severe disease, it is not 100% effective, and it is not yet known how well it prevents asymptomatic infection, or how long its effects will last. Everyone will need to continue taking precautions like masking and physical distancing until the spread has stopped.
I’ve heard that the COVID-19 vaccine is a live virus and many older people — the most vulnerable — are hesitant to get the vaccine because it could make them sick. Is that true?There are many COVID-19 vaccines in development. The first vaccines Mayo Clinic will receive are not live virus vaccines. Some of the COVID-19 vaccines under development are live but others are not. Those who are pregnant or immunocompromised should not get live vaccines. Mayo Clinic staff will ensure that those who are pregnant or immunocompromised do not get a live vaccine.
Were COVID-19 vaccines developed using fetal tissue?Neither the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine nor the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines contain fetal cells nor were fetal cells used the development or production of either vaccine.
Can people with autoimmune diseases get the vaccine?People with autoimmune diseases can take the vaccines. Some people with autoimmune diseases are taking strong immunosuppressant medications to control their disease. If that’s the case, they become immunocompromised depending on the medication and dose. The vaccine is not contraindicated for immunocompromised people, but might not work as well since their immune system is being suppressed.
Can a previously healthy older person get sick with COVID-19 after taking the vaccine? Do the benefits outweigh the risks in this population?The vaccines are not 100% effective but they are far better than not getting vaccine. The benefits certainly outweigh the risks in healthy older persons. One cannot get COVID-19 infection from the initial COVID-19 vaccines Mayo Clinic will receive as they are inactivated vaccines and not live vaccines.
Can international patients come to Mayo Clinic just to get vaccinated?At this time, international patients cannot come to Mayo Clinic just to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Given initial limited supplies, Mayo Clinic is allocated vaccine for patients in its region. Mayo will distribute vaccines to the highest-risk groups based on guidance from public health authorities. As supplies increase in 2021, the program will expand to include more staff and broader patient populations.
What if international patients are at Mayo Clinic already and eligible for the vaccine, can they get it?Eventually, once there’s enough vaccine, Mayo Clinic will offer the vaccine to all of its patients including its international patients. For now, Mayo Clinic will abide by federal and state guidelines to vaccinate those employees and patients in the highest tiers of risk.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine be free?Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine will be free. However, vaccine administration charges will be billed to insurance. We anticipate that the fee for vaccine administration will be covered by the payer at 100% and patients will not be billed for any unpaid charges. Patients and staff will need to bring their insurance card when they receive the vaccine.
Why is there an administrative fee when the drug is provided free of charge by the U.S. government?The administrative fee covers labor, supplies and administrative support required to set up and operate vaccination clinics, as well as to administer vaccine in a physician office.
What if I have a history of allergic reactions?
As our patients become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please be aware that persons with a history of severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to eggs or any other substance should plan to stay to be observed for 30 minutes after vaccination. Mayo Clinic Health System will establish a waiting area at vaccination sites, staffed by medical personnel, in the event a patient has an allergic reaction
Can people with an egg allergy receive the COVID-19 vaccine?Neither the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine nor the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines contain egg nor were eggs used the development or production of either vaccine. However, those with severe allergic reactions to eggs or any other substance (i.e., anaphylaxis) are encouraged to remain after vaccination for 30 minutes for observation.
What if I am allergic to polyethylene glycol or polysorbate?
If you have a history of an allergic reaction of any severity to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate, you should not get the COVID-19 vaccine.
If you are unsure whether or not you have this allergy, check with your health care provider.
Are there any studies that prove COVID-19 vaccines do not affect fertility?
While there are no formal studies, the best evidence comes from women who got sick with COVID-19 while pregnant. While data clearly indicate pregnant women are at higher risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 infection, there is no evidence of increased miscarriage rates.
During natural infection, the immune system generates the same antibodies to the spike protein that COVID-19 vaccines would. Thus, if COVID-19 affected fertility, there already would be an increase in miscarriage rates in women infected with COVID-19. This has not happened.
Will COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility?
No, COVID-19 vaccines have not been linked to infertility.
A sophisticated disinformation campaign has been circulating online, claiming that antibodies to the spike protein of COVID-19 produced from these vaccines will bind to placental proteins and prevent pregnancy. This disinformation is thought to originate from internet postings by a former scientist known to hold anti-vaccine views. These postings are not scientifically plausible, as COVID-19 infection has not been linked to infertility. Also, no other viral infection or vaccination-inducing immunity by similar mechanisms has been shown to cause infertility. Antibodies to the spike protein have not been linked to infertility after COVID-19 infection. There is no scientific reason to believe this will change after vaccination for COVID-19.
These postings are not scientifically plausible, as COVID-19 infection has not been linked to infertility. Also, no other viral infection or vaccination-inducing immunity by similar mechanisms has been shown to cause infertility. Antibodies to the spike protein have not been linked to infertility after COVID-19 infection. There is no scientific reason to believe this will change after vaccination for COVID-19.
Should providers wear gloves when giving COVID-19 vaccinations?
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations do not require gloves to be worn when administering vaccinations. Hands will be cleaned with an alcohol-based antiseptic hand rub or washed with soap and water between each patient contact.