Do breastfeeding mothers have COVID vaccine side effects?

breastfeeding covid vaccine side effects, breastfeeding COVID
© Pruksachat Lapvilai

Researchers found that breastfeeding mothers and their infants faced no significant COVID vaccine side effects from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines

Understandably, there is a level of fear in the public about how the rare side effects of a COVID vaccine could impact two individuals at a vulnerable stage in their lives. For some people, fears about fertility hold them back from accessing the life-saving vaccine – despite those being thoroughly debunked. Here, we wrote about a study that examined 800,000 vaccinated people and found the vaccine to be far safer than catching the virus. For some hold-outs, vaccine hesitation is deeply connected to a lack of healthcare access too.

So, how does vaccination impact infants?

In a separate study, a Florida team found that mothers can even pass down antibodies via breastmilk, if they’ve been vaccinated – protecting the infant by proximity.

The team at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine looked at how COVID vaccine side effects impact breastfeeding mothers and their infants. They found that Pfizer and Moderna vaccination creates the same systemic symptoms reported in non-breastfeeding women, with no serious COVID vaccine side effects in breastfed infants.

“A mother’s first concern is the safety of her child,” said Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine and professor in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science.

“Our study, along with previous research, suggests the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not red flags for breastfeeding mothers and their infants.”

Are there any unusual side effects in vaccinated mothers?

The team found that 85% of the 180 breastfeeding mothers, who took an mRNA vaccine, reported temporary local symptoms. Essentially, the sore arm or itching at the injection site. There were also reports of chills, fever and vomiting, and body aches among the 85% who reported any side effects.

Some breastfeeding women reported a reduction of milk supply, which came back within three days. There were more reports of milk reduction following the second dose of Moderna, but there were a few instances of reduction in those who took the first dose of either mRNA vaccine.

“We want to emphasize that the reduction in milk supply was in a small subset of women and came back fully within 72 hours after vaccination. We also cannot be certain that the supply reduction was a side effect of the vaccine or another unknown factor,” said Chambers.

“What we do know is that the vaccine is incredibly effective in providing protection from COVID-19, which has proven to be a devastating and serious virus with possible long-term side effects.”

Read the full journal article here.


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