Breastfeeders can opt for vaccination

James Kon

Women currently breastfeeding or providing expressed breast milk can choose to receive COVID-19 vaccine, said the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday, in a statement on FAQs regarding the matter.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that if a lactating woman is part of a ‘high risk’ group, such as a healthcare worker or part of a high-risk group recommended for vaccination, (such as women with diabetes and/or obesity), vaccination can be offered,” said the MoH.

“Therefore, healthy women currently breastfeeding or expressing breast milk may choose to be vaccinated.”

The MoH statement also pointed out that COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause the infection, since they do not contain the virus.

“No studies have specifically investigated whether COVID-19 vaccines could get into breast milk. Even if they enter the breast milk, they are unlikely to pose a risk to the breastfeeding child,” it said further.

“Antibodies in breast milk are widely known to help protect babies against a wide range of infections.

“Antibodies against the virus have been detected in the milk of mothers who have been infected with COVID-19. So, getting vaccinated could mean antibodies triggered by the vaccine may also pass into the breast milk and therefore help to protect the breastfeeding child against COVID-19.

“According to WHO, mothers who are vaccinated should be encouraged to continue breastfeeding to protect their breastfeeding child. It is highly unlikely that vaccination will affect women’s ability to produce milk. Women currently breastfeeding or expressing breast milk can be confident that vaccination will not affect their milk supply.”