Comparison of sars-cov-2-specific antibodies in human milk after mrna-based covid-19 vaccination and infection

Hannah G. Juncker, Sien J. Mulleners, Marit J. van Gils, Tom P. L. Bijl, Christianne J. M. de Groot, Dasja Pajkrt, Aniko Korosi, Johannes B. van Goudoever*, Britt J. van Keulen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies are secreted into human milk of infected or vaccinated lactating women and might provide protection to the breastfed infant against COVID-19. Differences in antibody response after these types of exposure are unknown. In this longitudinal cohort study, we compared the antibody response in human milk following SARS-CoV-2 vaccination or infection. We analyzed 448 human milk samples of 28 lactating women vaccinated with the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine BNT162b2 as well as 82 human milk samples of 18 lactating women with a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. The levels of SARS-CoV-2-specific IgA in human milk were determined over a period of 70 days both after vaccination and infection. The amount of SARS-CoV-2-specific IgA in human milk was similar after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination and infection. After infection, the variability in IgA levels was higher than after vaccination. Two participants with detectable IgA prior to vaccination were analyzed separately and showed higher IgA levels following vaccination compared to both groups. In conclusion, breastfed infants of mothers who have been vaccinated with the BNT162b2 vaccine receive human milk with similar amounts of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies compared to infants of previously infected mothers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1475
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

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