ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – A new study from Washington University School of Medicine may give new moms another reason to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Researchers already knew antibodies would be found in the women's breast milk, but they wanted to know how long that would last. So, they continued to test freshly pumped breast milk for 80 days after the moms received the Pfizer vaccine.
"What we found was a huge boost of antibodies showing up in their breastmilk starting about two weeks after their first shot and it sustained for the entire course of the experiment which was almost three months long," said Dr. Jeannie Kelly, a Washington University maternal fetal medicine specialist at the Women & Infants Center. "So that essentially means after you get your COVID-19 vaccine, if you're breastfeeding, a lot of those antibodies are actually going into your baby from the breast milk."
That could offer the babies more protection against the coronavirus, according to researchers. Dr. Kelly says those antibodies remain present even if the breast milk is frozen and later thawed.
Even though this experiment only included the Pfizer vaccine, researchers believe the results would be the same for the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson shots. Meanwhile, other new research is offering more insight on when pregnant women should consider getting the shot.
"We can now tell, the sweet spot to get vaccinated is around that second to early third trimester point and the reason for that is because just like many other vaccinations, the antibodies that cross over the placenta tends to increase with gestational age," said Dr. Kelly.
Experts at Wash U said since pregnant women were not included in the original trials for the vaccines, this new research provides more data for these women to make a decision about getting vaccinated that's best for them.