Is Covid vaccine safe for breastfed babies?

People who are pregnant and breastfeeding are often lumped together when evaluating vaccine safety. It’s important to note that pregnancy and breastfeeding carry different theoretical risks, and it’s not always wise to lump them together.

As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, multiple studies and health organizations have supported the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines for breastfeeding individuals. Both mRNA-based vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) and viral vector vaccines (like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen) have been administered to breastfeeding mothers without significant safety concerns.

A mother’s vaccination status should not factor into her decision to breastfeed. She should be able to make that choice freely and without fear.

Covid

Vaccines for Breastfed Babies

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding. In fact, a recent study published in JAMA found that babies get protection from the antibodies their mothers pass down through breast milk after their moms receive the vaccine.

This study tracked levels of the mRNA vaccines Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna as well as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in breastfeeding women’s milk at various time points after their mothers received their COVID-19 vaccinations. They found that none of the vaccine components left the mother’s bloodstream, traveled through the ducts to the breast milk and survived the acidity of the baby’s gastrointestinal tract.

Another recent study showed that a mother who gets the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine produces high levels of antibodies in her milk for six weeks after her vaccinations. The research team also measured antibodies in the infants and found that they were protected against the virus when breastfeeding.

Vaccines are safe for breastfeeding people because large clinical trials have shown them to be so. Unlike some vaccines, including the Tdap and MMR, the mRNA vaccines don’t contain live viruses that could enter the breastfeeding infant’s bloodstream and cause harm.

Vaccines for Pregnant Babies

While pregnant and breastfeeding women are not routinely included in clinical trials for vaccines, “they should be encouraged to participate, and not have that decision made for them,” says ACOG’s Dr. Rankins. Despite this, there isn’t much data specific to pregnant and nursing moms. “However, we know that vaccines do not pass through the placenta or in breast milk,” she adds. “And that multiple studies show that babies who are breastfed by mothers vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus receive protective antibodies.”

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines (which have been approved for use in adults) both contain a dead, non-replicating version of the coronavirus, meaning they cannot spread to the mother or to her baby. The vaccines do not cause any adverse side effects when the mother carries them in her body, which is important for breastfeeding.

The study analyzed stool samples from infants, finding that those who were breastfed by mothers who received the vaccine had antibodies to the spike protein on the coronavirus. These antibodies, however, do not protect against the virus itself. “This suggests that vaccine-induced maternal antibodies can provide protection for babies through breastfeeding, which may be an important alternative to other interventions to prevent transmission of the virus,” researchers conclude in the Journal of Perinatology. However, researchers note that it’s essential that pregnant and breastfeeding women talk to their providers about the best way to protect themselves and their babies against the virus.

Vaccines for Newborns

If you’re expecting a baby, be sure to talk to your doctor about vaccines. They can help you understand why vaccinations are so important for your child. They’ll tell you about the vaccine’s ingredients, what it protects against and any possible side effects from the shot.

Newborns should get their first vaccine, hepatitis B (HepB) vaccine, within 12-24 hours of birth or when they’re discharged from the hospital. The HepB vaccine prevents hepatitis B infection, a disease that can damage the liver and kidneys and lead to life-threatening infections.

Babies also need their first dose of pertussis vaccine, which protects against whooping cough (pertussis). This is a serious disease that causes violent coughing fits and can make it hard for babies to breathe. Without immunization, pertussis can be deadly for newborns.

Vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) are usually given to kids at 2 months of age. These single vaccines are very effective in preventing disease, which can cause severe illness and death. These diseases often occur in large groups of people and can spread from person to person.

Babies may also receive the rotavirus vaccine, usually at 6 months of age. This is very safe, as studies show that it protects infants against a life-threatening diarrheal illness caused by a virus. CDC recommends that all children receive their vaccines according to the schedule recommended by their health care provider.

Vaccines for Older Babies

Babies have stronger immune systems than you might think. They can handle far more germs than the tiny amount of viruses in vaccines, and even if they do get a mild reaction from a vaccine, it’s very safe.

If a baby gets the coronavirus from something other than a vaccine or direct contact with an infected person, it can make them very sick and may cause serious long-term health problems, like liver cancer. This can also give the virus a chance to mutate and become more infective or resistant to available treatment options.

Studies of Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines showed that babies and kids who got them had fewer cases of the disease than did those who didn’t receive the vaccine. This helped cut the rate of illness and death in this age group.

The vaccines that babies and young kids get include their first dose of hepatitis B, the diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine, and the hepatitis A vaccine. They’ll also get a dose of the Hib vaccine, which protects against Haemophilus influenzae type b, or Hib.

All babies need vaccinations, including those born preterm or low-birthweight and those who spend time in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU). If your baby was delayed getting their COVID-19 vaccine because of the shortage, ask their healthcare provider about catching up on their routine vaccination schedule.

Conclusion

As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the COVID-19 vaccines that were authorized for emergency use in various countries, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, have been deemed safe and effective for most adults. However, information regarding the safety and efficacy of these vaccines for breastfed babies was limited at that time.

It’s important to note that medical guidelines and recommendations can change as more research becomes available, so it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for the most up-to-date information.

Describe Maternal Vaccination?

Breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The antibodies produced in response to the vaccine can be passed to the baby through breast milk, providing some level of protection to the infant.

What is Vaccine Safety?

These vaccines have undergone rigorous testing in clinical trials to ensure their safety and efficacy in adults. While clinical trials specifically involving breastfeeding infants were limited, the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) have not shown any safety concerns for breastfeeding mothers or their infants in available data.

Its important to Consult Healthcare Provider?

It’s essential for breastfeeding mothers to discuss their vaccination plans with their healthcare provider. They can provide personalized advice based on the mother’s individual health, the baby’s age and health status, and the latest vaccine recommendations.

Describe its Benefits vs. Risks?

Healthcare providers typically weigh the potential benefits of vaccination (reduced risk of COVID-19 for the mother and potential antibody transfer to the infant) against the potential risks when making recommendations.

Describe about Monitoring?

Some healthcare professionals might recommend monitoring the baby for any unusual reactions after the mother receives the vaccine, although severe adverse events are rare.

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