According to a recently published study from the University of Florida, mothers vaccinated against COVID-19 can protect against this infectious disease in their children while they are babies.
The researchers said that through breast milk, mothers could transmit antibodies that can be beneficial to babies. However, more studies are needed to determine the impact this has on their development.
Dr. Josef Neu, the co-author of this study and professor at the Department of Pediatrics at the UF School of Medicine, stated that: “Many mothers and pregnant women are afraid of getting vaccinated. They want to do what’s best for their babies. This is one of the things we wanted to know; if it can provide any benefit. “
Joseph Larkin III, the lead author of the study and associate professor in UF’s Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, explained that babies are not born with a developed immune system, and therefore they are too vulnerable and cannot receive the COVID vaccine. -19. However, breast milk can help them reduce this state of vulnerability.
Neu said: “Milk is a dynamic substance. In other words, the baby and the mother are exposed to the environment. There are changes in the Milk that correspond to these environmental conditions, and these can specifically help the baby.”
According to a UF statement, the study began in December, when vaccines against COVID-19 were made available to the population. With the voluntary collaboration of 21 nursing mothers working in the health sector, the researchers conducted the tests by taking blood and breast milk samples three times: before vaccination, after the first dose, and after the second dose.
The researchers confirmed that there was a pronounced 100-fold increase in immunoglobulin A antibodies in breast milk after the second dose was applied. He stressed that the antibodies would still be present even if the Milk were frozen and stored rather than given.
Likewise, some other studies show that pregnant women already vaccinated against COVID-19 produce antibodies that they transmit to their children through the umbilical cord blood.
However, this study does not answer how many antibodies are transmitted through breast milk or provide the necessary protection never to become infected. However, the research team is active in trying to answer these questions.
On the other hand, the study showed that vaccination is 100 percent safe for the 21 volunteer nursing mothers, and it also provided them with immunity. The researchers’ Neu and Larkin emphasized that their study is not intended to create stress in the population of women who cannot breastfeed. Likewise, they hope their findings will prompt people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Larkin said. “Just by getting vaccinated, they are already helping the baby.”
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. In most cases, they can have premature births, lose their baby, or even their lives.
“Sometimes we lose mothers because they are very sick with this terrible disease and they are not vaccinated, and it is something that can be prevented,” Neu said.