Smallpox Vaccination during breastfeeding
Is smallpox vaccine safe for women who are breastfeeding?
Women who are breastfeeding should not get the vaccine. This advice is true even if women are pumping and then bottle-feeding breast milk. It is unknown whether the vaccine virus or antibodies pass on to the baby through breast milk.
Is it safe for women who received smallpox vaccine during pregnancy to breastfeed their babies?
Pregnant women should not receive the smallpox vaccine unless they have been exposed to smallpox. If a pregnant woman is vaccinated or if a woman becomes pregnant after vaccination, breastfeeding should not take place until the vaccination scab has separated from the vaccination site.
If a woman who is breastfeeding receives the smallpox vaccine should she stop nursing?
Yes. Breastfeeding should not take place until the vaccination scab has separated from the vaccination site. A woman who desires to maintain her milk supply may continue to pump breast milk, but the milk should be discarded until her scab fully separates.
Is it safe for a woman to breastfeed her baby if a close contact received the smallpox vaccine?
Yes. However, anyone who receives the smallpox vaccine should remember to wash their hands with soap and warm water after direct contact with the vaccination site, or anything that has touched the vaccination site (bandages, clothing, towels, bedding, etc.). This is will help prevent the spread of vaccinia virus to contacts, including young babies.
If a breastfeeding mother who has close contact with a recently vaccinated person develops a rash, should she stop nursing?
If a breastfeeding mother who has had close contact with a person recently vaccinated against smallpox develops a rash, she should check with her healthcare provider to determine if the rash is related to the smallpox vaccine. If she has a vaccine-related rash, breastfeeding should not take place until all scabs from the rash have fallen off. A woman who desires to maintain her milk supply may continue to pump breast milk, but the milk should be discarded until her scabs fully separate.
If there were ever a case of smallpox, would breastfeeding women be vaccinated?
If there is a smallpox outbreak, recommendations on who should get vaccinated will change. Anyone who is exposed to smallpox should get vaccinated, because they will be at greater risk from the disease than they are from the vaccine. Public health authorities will recommend who should be vaccinated at that time and what measures people can take to protect themselves from smallpox.
Share this article