Breast milk from mothers who have received a Covid-19 vaccine contains antibodies, which may potentially protect nursing infants against infection, a US study has found.
University of Florida researchers said their findings could have a positive influence on vaccination rates for pregnant and lactating women, for whom vaccines have been deemed safe but many remain hesitant, reports the Independent.
"A lot of mums, pregnant women, are afraid to get vaccinated. They want to do what's best for their babies," said Dr Josef Neu, study co-author and professor in the UF College of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics and Neonatology.
He added: "This is something that we wanted to know, whether it may actually provide some benefit".
Senior study author Dr Joseph Larkin III said that because babies are born without a fully developed immune system and are too young to be vaccinated, they are more vulnerable to diseases.
But he said breast milk can help to strengthen immunity against infection.
"Milk is a dynamic substance," he said.
"So, in other words, what the baby and the mum [are] exposed to in the environment, there are changes in the milk that correspond to these environmental conditions, and these can then specifically help the baby."