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COVID-19 vaccines provide immunity from infection and there is a need to inoculate as many people as possible to overcome the global pandemic. But till now there was no clarity on whether it is safe for lactating moms to take the shot. Many experts were of the opinion that it may affect the baby. But now, a small study at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) did not find any presence of COVID-19 vaccines in breast milk. According to the researchers, vaccines against COVID-19 were not detected in human milk, and this indicates vaccine safety for pregnant and lactating women. This study provides early evidence that the shots are not transferred to the infant. JAMA Pediatrics published this study.
For the purpose of the study, researchers analysed the breast milk of seven women after they received the mRNA vaccines -- Pfizer and Moderna. They found no trace of the vaccines that are known to inhibit transmission of SARS-CoV2, a virus that causes Covid-19. This study offers the first direct data of vaccine safety during breastfeeding and could allay concerns among those who have declined vaccination or discontinued breastfeeding due to concern that vaccination might alter human milk.
The World Health Organisation recommends that breastfeeding people must be vaccinated. Moreover, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine has also said there is a little risk of vaccine nanoparticles or mRNA entering breast tissue or being transferred to milk, which theoretically could affect infant immunity. The researchers of the above-mentioned study say that the results strengthen current recommendations that the mRNA vaccines are safe in lactation, and that lactating individuals who receive the Covid vaccine should not stop breastfeeding.
The study was conducted over a period of time from December 2020 to February 2021. The mothers' mean age was 37.8 years and their children ranged in age from one month to three years. Milk samples were collected prior to vaccination and at various times up to 48 hours after vaccination. Though the results are promising, researchers caution that the study was limited by the small sample size. They further said that more clinical data from larger populations is needed to better estimate the effect of the vaccines on lactation outcomes.
(With inputs from IANS)
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