August is National Vaccination Month. It’s important now more than ever not to delay getting vaccinated because of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease-2019) fears.
A vaccination is a shot that contains a vaccine. A vaccine helps protect you from certain diseases, by building immunity in your body. Immunity helps prevent you from getting a particular disease. Do not skip getting vaccinated during the COVID-19 crisis. You will need to visit your health care provider in person to be vaccinated. Your provider will work to reduce your risk of exposure to the virus during your office visit.
Which vaccinations are recommended before and during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, vaccinations help protect both you and your baby. Make sure your vaccinations are current before you get pregnant. Talk to your provider about which vaccinations are safe to get during pregnancy.
The vaccination chart below shows which routine vaccinations are recommended before and during pregnancy. It’s based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (also called CDC).
The CDC recommends that you get a whooping cough vaccine (also called Tdap) and a flu shot during each pregnancy. At this time, there is no evidence that getting the flu or Tdap vaccine increases you or your unborn baby’s risk of becoming infected with COVID-19.
Tdap stands for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Pertussis also is called whooping cough. The CDC recommends getting a whooping cough shot during the 27th through the 36th week of each pregnancy. In some cases, providers recommend a Td vaccination, which protects against tetanus and diphtheria but not pertussis. Ask your provider what’s best for you.
Flu is also called influenza. It is a serious disease that can cause fever, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches, vomiting and diarrhea. If you get the flu during pregnancy, you’re more likely than women who don’t get it to have serious problems, like preterm labor and premature birth (labor and birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy). Get a flu shot once a year before flu season (October through May).
Because of COVID-19, your provider may vaccinate you during a different week in your pregnancy than the normal schedule. Make an in-person visit with your provider to receive the vaccine if you were asked to skip or delay a visit because of the pandemic.
Other vaccines pregnant women may need
Some women may need other vaccines during pregnancy:
- Hepatitis B: Hepatitis is a type of liver infection. If you have hepatitis B, you may pass it along to your baby during delivery. Talk to your provider about getting tested for hepatitis B and if you should get vaccinated.
- Hepatitis A: If you have a history of chronic liver disease, your provider may recommend that you get the hepatitis A vaccine.
- Vaccines for travel: Talk to your provider if you’re planning on traveling to another country while pregnant. Ask your provider at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip if you need any other vaccines or need to take special precautions.
What to expect during your vaccination visit
To reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19 during your vaccination visit, your provider may:
- Schedule your visit in the morning when only patients who are not sick will be seen
- Take your temperature when you arrive
- Ask that you wear a face covering or facemask during your visit
- Use dividers to separate you from other patients
- Limit the number of patients or partners in the office or waiting area
Be sure to follow social distancing and handwashing recommendations during and after your office visit.
Can you get vaccinations during pregnancy if you have COVID-19?
If you have COVID-19 or think you do, you will need to recover from COVID-19 first before you can get a vaccine.