COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy

Key points about COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy

  • If you catch COVID-19 when you're pregnant you are more likely to become very unwell.
  • So it's a good idea to get vaccinated and get a booster when you become eligible. 
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(Ministry of Health, NZ, 2021)

(Healthify He Puna Waiora, NZ, in partnership with Northland DHB & Ministry of Health, 2022)

View transcript.(external link) [DOCX, 28 KB]

If you are pregnant (hapū), or planning a pregnancy, it's important to have the COVID-19 vaccine. Studies have shown this is safe and better for you and your baby. If you get COVID-19 while you’re pregnant you can become very sick.

If you’re pregnant, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine at any stage of your pregnancy. 

You can book online at Book My Vaccine(external link) or call the COVID Vaccination Healthline on 0800 28 29 26 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).

The Pfizer vaccine is used for the first 2 COVID vaccination doses (also called primary vaccine course).

  • Vaccinating during pregnancy may also help protect your baby. Babies can get antibodies to the virus while they are in the womb and through breast milk.
  • Data from the large number of pregnant people already vaccinated around the world shows that there are no additional safety concerns with giving the  Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine. Vaccinating during pregnancy may also help protect your baby. There is evidence that infants can get antibodies to the virus through umbilical cord blood and through breast milk.

Novavax vaccine

There is limited data about the Novavax vaccine during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. The Pfizer vaccine is the preferred choice during pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you have any questions or concerns, discuss them with your healthcare provider

Read more information about COVID-19 vaccination, pregnancy, lactation and breastfeeding(external link) from the Immunisation Advisory Centre. Karawhiua(external link) also has answers to FAQs about the COVID-19 vaccine especially for Māori. 

If you are pregnant and over 16 years old, it is recommended that as well as your first 2 COVID vaccine doses, you should have booster doses.

  • Booster doses are given to “boost” the immune response. Booster doses are necessary because protection of the vaccine decreases over time.
  • The preferred booster vaccine in Aotearoa New Zealand is a new bivalent booster vaccine called Pfizer BA.4/5 bivalent vaccine. This vaccine is considered to be more effective against Omicron.
  • Bivalent vaccines work by helping the body to create antibodies against two strains of the virus, providing more protection.

To get a booster you need to wait at least 6 months since your last COVID vaccine or or 6 months after you have had a COVID-19 infection. You should discuss the timing of a booster with your midwife, obstetrician or general practitioner.

Read more about COVID-19 vaccine booster doses.

You should also get vaccinated against the flu and whooping cough (pertussis) because the risk of these is just as high as ever. Getting vaccinated during pregnancy protects you and your newborn baby against these serious infections. 

You can get the influenza vaccine and COVID vaccine at any stage of pregnancy and whooping cough vaccine from 16 weeks of pregnancy. They can be given at the same time or separately. Read more about pregnancy and immunisations.

It's safe to have the COVID vaccine while you are breastfeeding. When you're vaccinated, this can also provide some protection against COVID-19 for your baby through your breastmilk.


COVID-19 vaccine pregnancy and breastfeeding(external link) [PDF, 458 KB] Ministry of Health and Unite against COVID-19, NZ, 2021
COVID-19 vaccination, pregnancy and lactation(external link)(external link)(external link) The Immunisation Advisory Centre, NZ, 2022
I'm pregnant or breastfeeding, can I have the covid-19 vaccine?(external link) [PDF, 838 KB] Counties Manukau Health and Unite against COVID-19, NZ Tongan [PDF, 838 KB], Samoan [PDF, 834 KB]


  1. Pregnancy and immunisations(external link) Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora
  2. COVID-19 vaccination in pregnant and breastfeeding women and those planning pregnancy(external link)(external link)(external link) The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG)
  3. Maternity support for women during Covid-19(external link)(external link)(external link) Health Quality & Safety Commission, NZ, 2020
  4. COVID-19 – who can get a vaccine?(external link)(external link)(external link) Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora
  5. COVID-19 Comirnaty™ (Pfizer/BioNTech) vaccination and pregnancy(external link)(external link)(external link) The Immunisation Advisory Centre, NZ
  6. UAB hospital leaders alarmed over number of pregnant COVID-19 patients in ICU(external link)(external link)(external link) Beckers Hospital Review, US, 2021
  7. COVID-19 vaccine safety in pregnancy and other special circumstances(external link)(external link)(external link) The Immunisation Advisory Centre, NZ
  8. COVID-19 vaccination, pregnancy and lactation(external link)(external link)(external link) The Immunisation Advisory Centre, NZ

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Credits: Healthify He Puna Waiora editorial team. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland

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