Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for nursing mothers?

IMAGE: The Journal publishes original scientific papers, reviews, and case studies on a broad spectrum of topics in lactation medicine. It presents evidence-based research advances and explores the immediate and long-term...

Image: 
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

New Rochelle, NY, January 12, 2021--The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) does not recommend cessation of breastfeeding for individuals who are vaccinated against COVID-19. In a new statement, the ABM suggests that lactating women discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their health care provider, within the context of their risk of contracting COVID-19 and of developing severe disease, according to the peer-reviewed journal Breastfeeding Medicine. Click here to read the ABM statement now.

This is a challenging topic because the vaccine trials excluded lactating women. Thus, there are no clinical data regarding the safety of the Pfizer/BioNtech or the Moderna vaccine in nursing mothers. According to the ABM statement, "there is little biological plausibility that the vaccine will cause harm, and antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19] in milk may protect the breastfeeding child."

"Without clinical data, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine relied on biological plausibility and expert opinion to craft a statement on considerations for mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in lactation," says Alison Stuebe, MD, President of ABM. "The available information is reassuring; however, pregnant and lactating people deserve better than plausibility to guide medical decisions. Henceforward, phase 3 clinical trials should routinely include pregnant and lactating participants. It's time to protect pregnant and breastfeeding individuals through research, not from research."

Arthur I. Eidelman, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine, states: "The publication of the balanced ABM statement will serve as an immediate guide for clinicians and families in deciding to proceed with Covid-19 vaccination of nursing mothers."

Credit: 
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News