Questions around the safety of vaccinations during breastfeeding are common, and a new article published in Breastfeeding Medicine reviews the evidence and recommendations for administration of vaccines to nursing mothers.
The research reviewed all of the most common types of vaccines, including inactivated and live attenuated types, for the 'unsubstantiated concern' that they would cause harm to a nursing infant or interfere with the infant’s response to early childhood vaccinations.
It confirmed that no routine vaccines are contraindicated in nursing mothers. However, it says that yellow fever vaccine should not be given to mothers who are breastfeeding an infant younger than nine months of age unless it is absolutely unavoidable. Meanwhile, smallpox vaccine should not be given to nursing mothers, while adenovirus type 4 and type 7 vaccine is also not recommended.
In an accompanying editorial, Dr Arthur I. Eidelman, Editor-in-Chief of Breastfeeding Medicine said not only is there no harm in administering routine vaccinations to breastfeeding mothers, but there are benefits for both the mothers and infants, including the transfer of maternal antibodies to the infant and an enhanced antibody response.
He said nursing mothers should also be included in any emergency measles immunisation campaign, such as the recent emergency declared by the New York City Health Department.