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Can breastfeeding moms receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

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newborn baby grasps mother's finger

As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to educate our patients and the community on the latest information available. We have recently received several questions from breastfeeding moms about whether or not they should be vaccinated and we asked two of our own experts, Jessica Bergman, Nurse Midwife, and John Terpstra, D.O., Mercer Health’s physician lead for COVID-19, to weigh in:

Jessica Bergman, CNM:  There is a study recently published by the University of Florida showing antibodies for COVID in the breastmilk of vaccinated mothers who have received either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Unfortunately, the sample size is pretty small, but it’s some promising looking information. For me, it’s the same logic right now as why it’s a good idea to get the tdap shot in pregnancy—baby cannot get the shot themselves, and breastmilk can pass a small amount of immunity onto the child.

Dr. Terpstra:  This JAMA article is a good reference: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/  Breastfeeding mothers that are vaccinated will have COVID antibodies in their breast milk. These would be antibodies that are made by the mothers own immune system. This would be similar to many other antibodies that the mother passes on to their child through breast milk. The current recommendation is that breastfeeding mothers can receive the COVID vaccine and likely should as pregnant and postpartum women are at higher risk of complications from COVID.

If you have further questions about this information, we recommend you reach out to your primary care provider, your child’s primary care provider and/or your OB/GYN.

If you would like to submit a question to our provider team, please email myhealth@mercer-health.com.

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