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The COVID-19 vaccine and hormonal birth control
As it currently stands, there is no reason to pause or stop hormonal birth control before or after administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. These include birth control pills (both combination and progesterone-only), implant, patch, injection, or ring.
If you are currently using any type of hormonal birth control method, the effectiveness of your birth control at preventing pregnancy will not be affected by the COVID-19 vaccine. In the same way, your hormonal birth control will not affect the vaccine’s ability to prevent the spread of the disease.
What to expect from the COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccines approved by international regulatory agencies––such as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines––are safe and effective at reducing the risk of infection to COVID-19. In the 72 hours following vaccination, most people will experience mild side effects, while some people won’t experience any at all. Some common side effects include:
- Pain, redness, and/or swelling at the site of injection
- Muscle pain
However, on rare occasions, a minority of people will experience more serious side effects. In women aged 18 to 49, blood clots with low platelets (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, or TTS) have been reported after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
This is extremely rare and occurs at a rate of about 7 out of 1 million (or 0.000007%) of vaccinated women in this age bracket. Chances are even lower for women over 50 and men of all ages.
Overall, serious or long-term side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are very unlikely.
You’re not alone
What about blood clots?
You may have heard that some methods of hormonal birth control––although not all––can increase your chance of developing a blood clot. There have also been reports of people developing rare, but serious, blood clots post-vaccination.
While this is true, rest assured that taking hormonal birth control does not put you at a greater risk for developing blood clots due to the COVID-19 vaccine. Blood clots associated with hormonal birth control have different causes than clots associated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Both forms of clots are also extremely rare.
Certain types of hormonal birth control can increase your chances of developing clots in vessels that carry blood up the leg (called deep vein thrombosis) or to the lungs (called a pulmonary embolism). This mainly occurs with estrogen-containing forms of birth control, as estrogen is associated with an increased risk of blood clotting.
However, blood clots associated with the COVID-19 vaccine are caused by low platelets in the blood. Platelets usually help blood to clot when there is an injury, so it seems odd that low platelets are causing clots. In this case, it is likely that patients are producing an antibody against platelets, destroying platelet cells and triggering blood clots.
If you have a family history of blood clots, or are more likely to develop blood clots for another reason, let your medical professional know when purchasing birth control. However, rest assured knowing that patients with a history of blood clots are not at higher risk for developing a blood clot if they get the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.
The Crux of it All
If you are asked what medications you are taking during your vaccination appointment, make sure to let your healthcare professional know as much information as possible––including the type of hormonal birth control you are on.
For most people, it is also advisable to keep taking any medication(s) you are using to prevent or treat other medical conditions at the time of your vaccination appointment. If you have questions about specific medications you are on, make sure to talk to your healthcare professional.
If you have any concerns…
The bottom line: It is completely safe to take the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines while on hormonal birth control, whether that be the pill, patch, ring, etc.
If you have any concerns, our medical team is available to answer any questions you have and help you navigate the process of starting or continuing hormonal birth control with the COVID-19 vaccine. You can book a teleconsultation with any of our licensed physicians at any time.
Still have questions? Feel free to visit our blog to learn more about different types of birth control.