March 18, 2021

COVID-19 vaccines and ongoing health conditions

Vaccines are proven to be safe and effective for most people. Here are some things to know if you have an ongoing health condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Pregnancy may increase your risk of COVID-19, but the vaccine can help protect you and your baby.

Through rigorous, scientific evaluations, the vaccines authorized in the United States have proven to be safe and effective — and they’re recommended for most people. But it’s normal to have some questions based on your own health conditions or recent health experiences. As you get ready for your turn to get vaccinated, here’s what you should know if you fall into any of these categories.

You have a history of severe allergic reaction

Check with your doctor before getting vaccinated if you:

  • Have a history of severe allergic reactions
  • Carry an epinephrine auto-injector such as EpiPen
  • Have had a severe reaction to any ingredients in a COVID-19 vaccine (find ingredient information for different COVID-19 vaccines on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website)
  • Have had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

While allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines are extremely rare, if you have a history of allergic reactions, you’ll be asked to stay for a 30-minute observation period following each injection.

You’ve already had COVID-19

If you have ever tested positive for COVID-19, we still recommend you get vaccinated. You should wait to get vaccinated until you are recovered from any illness and have finished your quarantine period.

You need other vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccine cannot be given with any other vaccine. If you need another vaccine, such as a flu shot, we recommend you wait a minimum of 14 days to get the COVID-19 vaccine. You should also wait a minimum of 14 days after your COVID-19 vaccination before getting vaccinated for anything else. This applies to both the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

You’re pregnant or considering becoming pregnant

If you're pregnant or considering becoming pregnant, our clinical experts recommend getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Being pregnant increases the risk of getting COVID-19, so getting vaccinated before or during pregnancy can help protect you and your baby. Talk with your health care provider if you have concerns.

Experts believe that, based on how these vaccines work in the body, they are unlikely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant. Although there is currently limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people, during the first few months of vaccine administration, some 10,000 pregnant women received the vaccine, and there have been no reports of problems with these pregnancies. Learn more about COVID-19 and pregnancy at kp.org/maternity-covid.

You’re breastfeeding

Our clinical experts recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for breastfeeding women. You do not need to delay or stop breastfeeding after receiving the vaccine. Talk with your health care provider if you have concerns. 

You have an ongoing health condition

If you have an ongoing health condition, we recommend you talk with your doctor. Together, you can decide whether getting vaccinated is right for you. Our recommendations may change as we learn more about the vaccines, and we’re committed to sharing updates about important health considerations.

Stay informed

In some states, individuals with certain health conditions may now be eligible for vaccination. Find the latest information on vaccine eligibility and how to get a vaccine when you’re eligible at kp.org/covidvaccine.

For the latest vaccine information, members and nonmembers can call the KP COVID Vaccine InfoLine at 1-855-550-0951, available 24/7. Callers will hear a recorded message with the latest information, available in English and Spanish, and it will be updated as more information becomes available.