Is the H1N1 vaccine safe for breastfeeding mothers?
Yes, flu vaccines, including the vaccine for the 2009 pandemic
swine flu that is included in the seasonal flu vaccinations again
for the 2012-2013 flu season, are considered safe and effective for
breastfeeding mothers. The antibodies that are produced in response
to the flu vaccines in the mother will also help protect the baby
through the mother's milk. Also since infants under six months old
can not be vaccinated yet due to their immature immune systems, it
is recommended that anyone caring for these babies should be
vaccinated, so they can not give the virus to the infant. This
would include breastfeeding mothers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gives the
following related information (note that this information comes
from the time of the initial H1N1/09 vaccine development for the
2009-2010 flu season. Since that time this vaccine is no longer
needed to be given in a separate vaccination and has been included
in the annual flu vaccine for the several years since then. No
second vaccination is needed any longer. It is included in the
2012-2013 flu vaccine):
Both seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 monovalent influenza vaccines
should be given to breastfeeding mothers. Breastfeeding is fully
compatible with flu vaccination, and preventing maternal infection
provides secondary protection to the infant.
Maternal vaccination is especially important for infants less
than 6 months old, who are ineligible for vaccination. In addition,
transfer of vaccination-related antibodies by breastfeeding further
reduces the infant's chances of getting sick
with the flu.
While pregnant women should just receive the inactivated
injectable form of influenza vaccine, nursing mothers can receive
either the injectable or nasal spray form.
Pregnant women should not receive nasal spray vaccine for either
seasonal flu or 2009 H1N1 flu. After delivery, women can receive
the nasal spray vaccine, even if they are breastfeeding.