Background: Assessment of COVID-19 vaccines safety during pregnancy is urgently needed. Methods: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, including their components and technological platforms used in other vaccines during pregnancy and animal studies to complement direct evidence. We searched literature databases from its inception to September 2021 without language restriction, COVID-19 vaccine websites, and reference lists of other systematic reviews and the included studies. Pairs of reviewers independently selected, data extracted, and assessed the risk of bias of the studies. Discrepancies were resolved by consensus. (PROSPERO CRD42021234185). Results: We retrieved 8,837 records from the literature search; 71 studies were included, involving 17,719,495 pregnant persons and 389 pregnant animals. Most studies (94%) were conducted in high-income countries, were cohort studies (51%), and 15% were classified as high risk of bias. We identified nine COVID-19 vaccine studies, seven involving 309,164 pregnant persons, mostly exposed to mRNA vaccines. Among non-COVID-19 vaccines, the most frequent exposures were AS03 and aluminum-based adjuvants. A meta-analysis of studies that adjusted for potential confounders showed no association with adverse outcomes, regardless of the vaccine or the trimester of vaccination. Neither the reported rates of adverse pregnancy outcomes nor reactogenicity exceeded expected background rates, which was the case for ASO3- or aluminum-adjuvanted non-COVID-19 vaccines in the proportion meta-analyses of uncontrolled studies/arms. The only exception was postpartum hemorrhage after COVID-19 vaccination (10.40%; 95% CI: 6.49-15.10%), reported by two studies; however, the comparison with non-exposed pregnant persons, available for one study, found non-statistically significant differences (adjusted OR 1.09; 95% CI 0.56-2.12). Animal studies showed consistent results with studies in pregnant persons. Conclusion: We found no safety concerns for currently administered COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy. Additional experimental and real-world evidence could enhance vaccination coverage. Robust safety data for non-mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines are still needed.
Available online 27 March 2023