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From Nature... COVID Vaccines and Breastfeeding: What the Data Say

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

Small studies show vaccines are safe for breastfeeding parents and could possibly provide some protection for the baby.

What you need to know:

  • pregnant people diagnosed with COVID-19 are more likely to be hospitalized than are those of the same age who are not pregnant

  • some obstetricians suspect that lactating individuals are also susceptible to severe COVID-19

  • so far, studies have looked at the Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna vaccines

  • one study recruited 131 participants who were about to receive either vaccine and who were lactating, pregnant or neither

  • lactating individuals (which included the researcher and 30 others) generated the same robust antibody response as did those who were not lactating

  • follow-up study - blood drawn from 23 lactating participants showed that antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 increased after their second dose

  • in another small study - milk samples from six participants taken up to two days after they received the Pfizer–BioNTech or Moderna vaccine showed no trace of the vaccine mRNA

  • earlier this year, researchers found that breast milk from people who recover from the virus contains a significant number of antibodies... and a in small studies, many not yet peer reviewed, similar numbers of antibodies were found in breast milk from people who received the vaccine

  • babies are not currently eligible to receive any of the available vaccines (although both Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna have started trials of their COVID-19 vaccines in children as young as six months)


Read the June 23, 2021 NEWS FEATURE

"The vaccines do not pass through breast milk, but antibodies do — providing hope that breastfed babies might have some level of protection."

Listen to the June 25, 2021 PODCAST

"Early vaccine trials did not include pregnant or breastfeeding people which left some people asking whether COVID vaccines are safe and effective for those who are breastfeeding. The latest data suggests that they are and in this episode of Coronapod we dig into the questions scientists have been asking. Could the vaccine make it into breastmilk? Can COVID antibodies be transferred to a breastfeeding child? And if so, how?"

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