Another sign indicating that pregnant women must, in fact, get vaccinated, a new Israeli study has found that vaccinated mothers who are breastfeeding their newborn are able to pass on antibodies to their babies through breast milk.
Local media reported on Thursday that a new study conducted by Tel Aviv University and the Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov Hospital) revealed, “Encouraging data shows that vaccinating nursing mothers promotes the production of important antibodies in breast milk, thereby protecting their babies from disease.”
The research that began in January, was aimed at discovering whether the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine could produce antibodies in mothers who nursed and analyzing the level of protection they could potentially pass on to their infants. The study was conducted on a very small sample of 10 vaccinated women, which discovered an increase in antibodies in the blood and in breast milk, 14 days after the first vaccine shot and seven days after the second. The lactating mothers who were members of the medical staff at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital and were vaccinated agreed to give samples of their breastmilk. The research also found that the antibodies in breast milk could possibly counter COVID-19.
The researchers found that the formation of antibodies in milk and blood is synchronized and that the antibodies that develop in breastmilk have the ability to neutralize and block the connection between the virus and the receptor on the cell, which is key to the vaccine’s ability to prevent disease.
Prof. Ariel Many, one of the leaders of the study, told a local broadcaster that the results were significant enough to confirm the importance of vaccinating breastfeeding women in the hope that it might also help protect their children. “The meaning [of the study] is not entirely clear but it is clear that the immune response is good enough for antibodies to be transferred to the breastmilk and we know from other vaccines that there is an increase in antibodies in breastmilk,” Many said. “The antibodies were most likely absorbed in the digestive tract and this may lead to some protection for infants.”