Updates About the COVID-19 Vaccination and Fertility

COVID-19 vaccine and fertility

At Fertility and Endocrine Associates, we’re getting a lot of questions from our patients about the COVID-19 vaccine, so we wanted to share some guidance from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration issued approval for the first COVID-19 vaccines to be distributed in the United States to individuals age 16 and older. As of December 17, Pfizer’s vaccine has been approved and Moderna’s is being evaluated by an FDA panel, with expected approval any day. Both are mRNA vaccines that do not contain live virus.

How the Vaccines Work

Both vaccines deliver mRNA (or genetic code) into cells near the injection site. This mRNA instructs the body’s own cells to replicate the coronavirus’s spike (S) protein. This protein is recognized by the body as foreign, which then generates protective antibodies.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a lipid nanoparticle-formulated, nucleoside- modified mRNA vaccine. Rarely, some individuals could be allergic to a part of the lipid nanoparticle known as polyethylene glycol, a common component in other injectable medicines. Therefore, individuals who have experienced severe allergic reactions to prior vaccines or injectable drugs should use caution when taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Vaccine and Fertility

Patients undergoing fertility treatment and pregnant patients are encouraged to receive the vaccination if they are eligible. Since the vaccine is not a live virus, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts or fertility treatments until after the second dose.

Some studies have suggested that pregnancy is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease. Women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy may have additional risk factors such as obesity, hypertension or diabetes that may further increase the chance of a severe COVID-19 infection. These factors should be taken into consideration when deciding whether to get vaccinated.

Because COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not contain the live virus, they are not thought to cause an increased risk of infertility, first or second trimester loss, stillbirth, or birth defects. Further studies are planned to gather additional safety data.

Other important considerations: It is not yet known whether a vaccinated individual can spread the virus if they become infected. Protective immunity against COVID-19 takes time to develop, and although a two-dose regimen of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 95% effective against the development of COVID-19, it does not ensure 100% immunity.

Fertility and Endocrine Associates is not currently offering the vaccine. If we are able to provide doses in the future, we will alert our patients as soon as possible.

If you have further questions about the vaccine or your eligibility, call our office at (502) 897-2144.