COVID vaccines have been rolled out all around the world and millions of people have gotten their shots. Despite the fact that so many people have already been inoculated against COVID-19, questions are still being asked about the potential side effects of these vaccines. 

Some of these questions involve the safety of these COVID vaccines for women who are breastfeeding. Should breastfeeding women be vaccinated against the coronavirus? Do the vaccines find their way to breast milk? A new study on the concern seeks to answer these questions. 

COVID Vaccines and Breastfeeding 

Breastfeeding Mother
(Photo : Wendy Wei from Pexels)
Do COVID vaccines have an effect on breastfeeding mothers?

A study on COVID vaccines was conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco attempts to shed light on whether or not the vaccines have any effect on breastfeeding. 

According to the study, which was published in JAMA Pediatrics, it recognizes the "paucity of data regarding vaccine safety in pregnant or lactating individuals who were excluded from phase 3 clinical trials." The study also acknowledges that many breastfeeding mothers have either discontinued breastfeeding or refused to be vaccinated due to concerns that the COVID vaccines have an effect on breast milk. 

While the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine have both said that the vaccines pose no harm to breastfeeding women, the study says there has been "no direct data" available to support the claim. 

The study aims to "address this knowledge gap" by analyzing milk samples gathered from participating breastfeeding mothers to check for vaccine-related mRNA in human milk. 

Related Article: New COVID-19 Theory: Does Drinking Breast Milk Helpful vs Coronavirus?

COVID Vaccine Study: Do Vaccines Affect Breastfeeding?

Vaccine
(Photo : Gustavo Fring from Pexels)

The COVID vaccine study conducted by the researchers from the University of California, San Francisco focused on BNT162b2 vaccine, more commonly known as the Pfizer vaccine, and the mRNA-1273 vaccine, also known as the Moderna vaccine. 

Seven breastfeeding mothers with children aged one month to three years old volunteered for the study. These mothers self-collected their breast milk samples, which were then either kept on ice or frozen at home prior to the delivery to the laboratory. 

According to the study, samples were "collected prior to vaccination and at varied time points up to 48 hours after vaccination." 

Results of the analysis of the collected breast milk samples "showed detectable levels of vaccine mRNA in any component of the milk," according to the published study. 

CDC Weighs in on COVID Vaccines and Breastfeeding

The Centers of Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) have previously said that pregnant and recently pregnant women have an "increased risk" in relation to COVID-19. However, the CDC acknowledged in a website post dated June 29, 2021 that the clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for emergency use did not include breastfeeding mothers. 

The CDC still concluded that breastfeeding women can receive a COVID-19 vaccine, basing their conclusion on how COVID-19 vaccines generally work in the body. 

"COVID-19 vaccines are thought not to be a risk to lactating people or their breastfeeding babies," according to the post. 

Also Read: Coronavirus Mutations Posed Challenge to Vaccine Makers as Study Shows It Could Evade Antibodies

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Written by Isabella James

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