Data suggest COVID-19 vaccine safe for birthing people who are breastfeeding
Evidence is growing about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy and for birthing people who are breastfeeding. Data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine may outweigh any known or potential risks. Below, you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding breastfeeding and the COVID-19 vaccine:
- What are the benefits for getting the vaccine while breastfeeding?
- Mounting evidence shows that the breastmilk of vaccinated breastfeeding parents carries antibodies against the virus that causes COVID-19, which doctors suggest can protect babies from getting the COVID-19 virus until they can be vaccinated.
- Do those same benefits exist if I got vaccinated while pregnant?
- Yes. When pregnant people receive a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy, their bodies build antibodies against COVID-19 that they can then pass to their babies.
- Is my baby vaccinated against COVID-19 if I get the vaccine and breastfeed?
- No, while your baby will receive antibodies through breastmilk, those antibodies provide “passive immunity,” which will help protect your baby. It is not considered the same as receiving a vaccine.
- Are there safety concerns about the vaccine with pregnant people or people who are breastfeeding?
- No safety concerns were found in early studies.
- Can COVID-19 vaccines cause infection for breastfeeding people or their babies?
- No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. A COVID-19 vaccine cannot make anyone sick with COVID-19, including pregnant people, breastfeeding people, or their babies.
- How long do the antibodies protect my baby? Will they stop if I stop breastfeeding?
- We don’t know yet. Clinical researchers need to further study breastfed infants and their breastfeeding parents to understand the long-term benefits. We do know that the antibodies continue to show up as long as breastfeeding continues.
Safe and highly effective COVID-19 vaccines have been available for months. While we know many in our community have already been vaccinated, we also know many folks have not yet decided and may want more information as they evaluate options.
With the ongoing presence of the Delta variant, having more people vaccinated will play a significant role in keeping children safe and allowing them to safely remain in the classroom. Vaccination also helps prevent the development of new and more dangerous COVID-19 variants that could impact us all. The following resources will be useful in answering any questions you may have about COVID-19 vaccines:
- Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
- US Department of Health and Human Services
- It’s Up to You campaign: www.GetVaccineAnswers.org
- www.DeTiDepende.org (for Spanish speakers)
- Immunize Colorado
- Colorado Vaccine Equity Task Force: www.vaccineequity.org , https://www.equidadvacunacolorado.org/