Usher Institute

COPS study finds no increased miscarriage risk due to COVID-19 vaccines

There is no evidence of higher risk of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy following vaccination against Covid-19 or infection with the disease, according to a new study.

Video: Does COVID-19 vaccination or SARS-CoV-2 infection impact early pregnancy outcomes?
New findings from the COVID-19 in Pregnancy in Scotland (COPS) study show that COVID-19 vaccines and SARS-CoV-2 infection do not increase the risk of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy in pregnant women. The paper was released on 17 October 2022 in Nature Communications. Access to the paper as well as a full summary in plain English can be found at:

The results bolster previous findings that Covid-19 vaccines are safe to have before and during pregnancy, experts say.

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and Public Health Scotland analysed data from more than half a million pregnancies in Scotland - 24.1 per cent were during the pandemic, with the rest from the pre-pandemic period.


Some 18,780 women were vaccinated just before conception or in early pregnancy, 9.1 percent of whom had a miscarriage. This compares with a 9.9 per cent miscarriage rate for unvaccinated women pre-pandemic and 10 per cent for unvaccinated women during the pandemic.

Some 3,025 women had a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection during the same period in pregnancy - the team did not find any evidence that women are at higher risk of miscarriage after being infected.

Ectopic pregnancy

The team also did not find any evidence that either vaccines or infections increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy - when a fertilised egg implants itself outside the womb and fails to proceed to a full pregnancy.

In the 10,570 women who had a vaccine in the early days of pregnancy, 1.2 per cent had an ectopic pregnancy. This compares to 1.2 per cent for unvaccinated women pre-pandemic and 1.1 per cent for unvaccinated women during the pandemic.

The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine was the most commonly received vaccine by pregnant women in Scotland.

Vaccine safety

These findings are part of the COPS study, which tracks levels of Covid-19 infection and vaccine uptake in pregnant women in Scotland, and conducts rigorous analyses including assessing the safety of vaccination in pregnancy.

COPS is an offshoot of the EAVE II project, which uses anonymised linked patient data in Scotland to track the pandemic and the vaccine roll out in real time.

The findings have been published in Nature Communications. This work was funded by Wellcome and the charity Tommy’s and supported by the charity Sands.

This study provides reassurance that COVID-19 vaccines are safe in early pregnancy.

Professor Sarah StockCOPS co-lead at University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute and consultant obstetrician

Related links

Find out more about this research by reading the Plain English summary

Read the journal article in Nature Communications

NHS Inform - The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

This article was originally published by the University of Edinburgh Press Office

Read the original news article