I have been inundated with questions about the vaccine against Covid 19 and breastfeeding. Initially the recommendation was that it shouldnt be given until a mother had stopped breastfeeding (which caused consternation in the front line workers who needed it so badly to protect themselves and their families as well as patients ). This was revised by the MHRA and JCI once the first urgency of licensing the vaccines was past.
The information is that either the Pfizer/BioNtech or Astra Zenica/Oxford vaccines can be administered to a breastfeeding mother. I wrote this update for BfN which contains links to all the other information including InfantRisk
However, there are still queries from mothers who have been unsettled by poor information circulating on social media. I hope to allay these fears but ultimately the decision which you make is that which feels right for you.
- No there havent been any studies on the transfer through milk to babies but one is currently being undertaken by Imperial College using the milk of mothers before and after vaccination.
- It is not possible to interrupt breastfeeding for a period to minimise the transfer of milk. Vaccines do not have a half life like drugs.
- We have no reason to believe that the COVID-19 vaccine transfers into milk any more than any other vaccine which we use. What transfers are antibodies which the mother has made. We look forward to hearing whether these offer any protection to the baby. We know that antibodies after the mother has had COVID do transfer and protect.
I hope that this helps to answer some of the frequently asked questions and that all those having the vaccine stay safe and well as they work so hard to protect and treat the rest of us.