Dr. Hank Bernstein explains why it’s safe for breastfeeding mothers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I am breastfeeding?
Hank Bernstein, MD: I'm Hank Bernstein, and I'm speaking on behalf of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The question, “Can a woman get the COVID-19 vaccine while she's breastfeeding?” The answer, yes. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, known as ACOG, recommends the COVID-19 vaccine for lactating women as well as non-lactating women. And although lactating women have not been included in clinical trials, the COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld. Why? Because we need as many people vaccinated against the COVID-19 as possible. And we don't want to leave women who are breastfeeding behind.
Remember that breast milk is the ideal nutrition for infants in the first 6 months of age, and then for the second 6 months of age, complementing the solid foods that they eat. This is a recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and other organizations supporting breastfeeding.
Theoretical concerns about the safety of COVID-19 vaccine to lactating women do not, and I repeat, do not outweigh the many potential benefits of the mom receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine does not appear to impact mom's ability to make breast milk. Plus, mom's antibodies that she produces pass on to her baby. A recent study showed about two-thirds of women who received the vaccine while breastfeeding passed on their antibodies to their baby. In addition, the spike protein piece that's made, and once it is made, the human cell quickly breaks down what remains and takes it out of the body. So, there's no worry and no concern from a biologic effect for having received the vaccine.
Related Centers and Programs: Vaccine Education Center
Last Reviewed on Jun 16, 2021