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Study shows breastfeeding babies get COVID-19 antibodies from vaccinated mothers

An infant sleeping.
Marko Milivojevic
Creative Commons / Pixnio
An infant sleeping.

A new study by researchers at UMass Amherst shows that women who get vaccinated against COVID-19 pass antibodies to their breastfeeding babies.

Thirty lactating women from across the country who had received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine participated in the study.

Researchers measured the immune response to the virus of the mothers' breastmilk and their babies' excrement. They found the antibodies in both.

UMass professor Kathleen Arcaro was the senior author of the research.

"The takeaway is that breastfeeding mothers should get the vaccine for sure and continue breastfeeding," she said. "It's just another way to protect the infants from COVID-19."

Arcaro said the vaccine itself isn't getting into mothers' breast milk, just the immune response.

The antibodies were detected in infants regardless of age — from one and a half months to 23 months old.

Arcaro said the study shows that even if a woman has had COVID, she can still benefit from the vaccine.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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