Only 60% of pregnant patients in Ontario were fully vaccinated as of Oct. 3, according to the ICES COVID-19 dashboard—much lower than the 81% of the general eligible population at that time.
As trusted health care professionals, midwives have the opportunity to support their clients in accessing information about the COVID vaccine.
The College reminds midwives that they are required under the Professional Standards for Midwives to cite verifiable, evidence-based information from reliable sources when communicating with their clients about issues related to the pandemic and vaccination.
The Ministry of Health recommends all pregnant people in the authorized age group are vaccinated as soon as possible, at any stage in pregnancy, as COVID-19 infection during pregnancy can be severe (increased risk for hospitalization, ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, and death compared to non-pregnant people).
Vaccination may be considered at any gestational age, including the first trimester. While pregnant people were not included in Phase III trials for COVID-19 vaccines, real-world safety data for hundreds of thousands of pregnant individuals that have received COVID-19 vaccines did not reveal any safety signals.
COVID-19 vaccines can also be safely given to breastfeeding individuals. Recent data shows that mRNA from vaccines do not transfer into breast milk. Anti-COVID-19 antibodies produced by the breastfeeding person have been shown to transfer through the milk and provide protection to the infant.
Tools to support your clients’ decision making
- COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy (Ministry of Health)
- COVID-19 Vaccination: Special Populations – Vaccination in Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Decision-Making Tool for Pregnant Individuals (Ministry of Health)
- COVID-19 and Pregnancy: Information at your Fingertips (multilingual) (Prenatal Screening Ontario)