In March of 2021, Ontario became the first province to prioritize pregnant women in a COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan, without special conditions. 

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC), a society formed to lead the advancement of women’s health through excellence and collaborative professional practice, is urging pregnant and breastfeeding women, and their partners, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be offered vaccination at any time during pregnancy. Those women with preexisting medical conditions should speak to their doctor. 

SOGC based their decision on the women’s values and an understanding that the risk of infection and/or sickness/illness from COVID-19 outweighs the theorized risk of being vaccinated during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Women should not be denied vaccination based on pregnancy status or breastfeeding. Vaccination has not been shown to hurt the developing baby, and breastfeeding provides passive immunity to the baby. 

While most pregnant women who become infected with COVID-19 will have mild-to-moderate symptoms, and can also be asymptomatic, there is data from large studies that have shown 8-11% of pregnant women will require hospitalization for COVID-related illness and between 2-4% of pregnant women will require admission to the intensive care unit (ICU). Compared to non-pregnant women with COVID-19, pregnant women are at increased risk of invasive ventilation. 

For more information on Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s Department of Health (DOH) vaccine procedures, or for more information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, please contact the Community Health Program at 613-575-2341 ext. 3220.