Breast Milk of Vaccinated Moms Have High COVID-19 Antibodies: Study

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Vaccinated moms are giving their babies more health benefits after a study revealed that their breast milk contains high traces of COVID-19 antibodies. This means that nursing mothers who've had their coronavirus vaccinations pass on their immunities to their babies.

The study conducted by the University of Florida experts was undertaken between December 2020 to March 2021, when vaccinations like Pfizer and Moderna were first made available for medical frontline workers in the U.S. Some 21 breastfeeding healthcare workers were asked to participate in the research and provided samples of their breast milk and blood before their vaccination and after their first and second doses.

The researchers said that they "saw a robust antibody response" in the samples given after the second vaccine dose in that traces of the antibodies increased by at least "a hundred-fold" compared to the pre-vaccination samples. Dr. Lauren Stafford, one of the researchers, also said that the levels of antibodies are higher than observed natural antibodies that develop among moms who have contracted the virus.

Their findings, published in the Breastfeeding Medicine journal, provided another reason for lactating and pregnant moms to get vaccinated.

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Immune Development in Babies

A more extensive study involving 98 breastfeeding women in Spain, who received their COVID-19 vaccination, also showed more antibody units in their breast milk some 14 days after their second dose. This also proves that vaccinated moms who breastfeed can help their babies develop immunities against COVID-19, especially when coronavirus vaccines for infants and young children are still likely "a long way off," the experts said.

The experts said that vaccinating mothers to protect their kids isn't a novel idea as this has been done for cases like the flu, whooping cough, and other serious illnesses that could put babies at risk. Babies have underdeveloped immunities to fight infection, and their bodies are also too young to respond well to a strong vaccine. Since the young ones may also catch COVID-19, these studies open the possibility that a routine vaccination for the coronavirus may be recommended for mothers in the future.

But the experts also said further studies might be needed to know how long these antibodies remain in breast milk. Scientists are curious about its effectiveness in protecting babies.

Vaccine Hesitancy Among Moms

The news comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that vaccine hesitancy is still high for pregnant and lactating mothers. From December 2020 to May 2021, only 16 percent of moms with children or are breastfeeding have completed their vaccinations.

According to Dr. J'Leise Sosa, an OBGYN in New York, the spread of misinformation about vaccine safety has been a major factor in vaccine hesitancy among moms. Despite assurances from the CDC and various medical groups, some mothers are still caught up with fear and uncertainty, especially after reading unverified stories on the internet.

Sosa said that fear is understandable and normal, but several data have come out answering the safety concerns of moms. All of these data suggested that mothers can pass on immunity to their little ones.

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