Receipt of COVID-19 Vaccine During Pregnancy and Preterm or Small-for-Gestational-Age at Birth - Eight Integrated Health Care Organizations, United States, December 15, 2020-July 22, 2021.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022 Jan 07; 71(1):26-30.MM
COVID-19 vaccines are recommended during pregnancy to prevent severe maternal morbidity and adverse birth outcomes; however, vaccination coverage among pregnant women has been low (1). Concerns among pregnant women regarding vaccine safety are a persistent barrier to vaccine acceptance during pregnancy. Previous studies of maternal COVID-19 vaccination and birth outcomes have been limited by small sample size (2) or lack of an unvaccinated comparison group (3). In this retrospective cohort study of live births from eight Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) health care organizations, risks for preterm birth (<37 weeks' gestation) and small-for-gestational-age (SGA) at birth (birthweight <10th percentile for gestational age) after COVID-19 vaccination (receipt of ≥1 COVID-19 vaccine doses) during pregnancy were evaluated. Risks for preterm and SGA at birth among vaccinated and unvaccinated pregnant women were compared, accounting for time-dependent vaccine exposures and propensity to be vaccinated. Single-gestation pregnancies with estimated start or last menstrual period during May 17-October 24, 2020, were eligible for inclusion. Among 46,079 pregnant women with live births and gestational age available, 10,064 (21.8%) received ≥1 COVID-19 vaccine doses during pregnancy and during December 15, 2020-July 22, 2021; nearly all (9,892; 98.3%) were vaccinated during the second or third trimester. COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy was not associated with preterm birth (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] = 0.91; 95% CI = 0.82-1.01). Among 40,627 live births with birthweight available, COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy was not associated with SGA at birth (aHR = 0.95; 95% CI = 0.87-1.03). Results consistently showed no increased risk when stratified by mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose, or by second or third trimester vaccination, compared with risk among unvaccinated pregnant women. Because of the small number of first-trimester exposures, aHRs for first-trimester vaccination could not be calculated. These data add to the evidence supporting the safety of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy. To reduce the risk for severe COVID-19-associated illness, CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for women who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are lactating), who are trying to become pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future (4).