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Research shows the COVID-19 vaccine may protect nursing mothers and their babies against the virus

Three-thousand pregnant women have been given the COVID-19 vaccine to date, according to OB/GYN medical expert, Whitney Mascorro, MD.

ABILENE, Texas — For decades, medical workers have been giving vaccinations to pregnant women. Historically in the medical world, similar vaccines given to nursing mothers have worked. 

Whitney Mascorro, MD, is an OB/GYN at Hendrick Health. She has cared for more than 100 COVID-19 positive pregnant patients at the time of delivery. 

"The only vaccines that we don't give pregnant women are live-attenuated viruses like the MMR, the chickenpox vaccine, which actually still has a little part of the live virus in there," Mascorro said. 

Mascorro said she highly encourages nursing mothers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

"The American College of Obstetricians, Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all feel that it is safe and recommended to get the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine while lactating," Mascorro said. 

According to research, antibodies from the COVID-19 vaccine are passed through breast milk and eventually passed to the baby. Thereby reducing the risk of the baby getting a clinical infection like COVID-19. 

Mascorro said, "We do know that when a mom similar to when a mom is pregnant. When a mom is lactating when those antibodies that she develops as fighter cells...will actually cross into the breast milk. This is why we talk about breastfeeding is best a lot of the time. It's because the baby will get the mom's antibodies. The baby will get those IGA and IGG antibodies usually within a week of infection and a week of the vaccine in the breastmilk."

Corina Villarreal is a first-time mother to a nine-month-old daughter who is nursing. She had her baby girl on June 22, 2020, right in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The situation in itself was difficult and then to have the pandemic in the midst of it. Like I didn't have my mom or my sister to be able to come," Villarreal said. 

Villarreal said she got the Moderna vaccine the week of March 15 after questioning if she should get it or not. 

"You know, the whole background of is it safe or is it not? But honestly, we're doing just fine," Villarreal continued. 

She said it was no point in waiting. 

 "My husband and I were like what's the point in waiting when we can help prolong the safety for our daughter," Villarreal said. 

Thus far, no one has seen any adverse concerns. However, Mascorro said she - alongside a large network group of OB/GYNs across the nation - is continuing to monitor and report on this group of pregnant and nursing mothers.