Last week, Children’s Health Defense (CHD) sent a letter to top U.S. military health officials and several members of Congress regarding the current COVID-19 vaccine policies for breastfeeding mothers in the military. The letter states the Department of Defense (DOD) is putting the health and safety of breastfed newborns and infants at risk by not allowing mothers to receive medical exemptions while breastfeeding. The letter is signed by attorneys, service members and veterans of the armed forces urging the DOD to reconsider its policy immediately and request all branches of the military allow breastfeeding mothers temporary medical exemptions from COVID-19 vaccination for a minimum of one year after giving birth.
They point out how the DOD recognizes vaccination as a contraindication for pregnancy, allowing exemptions for expectant mothers — yet it does not recognize the risk posed to infants from maternal vaccination. As a result, it does not allow exemptions for breastfeeding mothers, even though the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use were not tested, authorized or approved for lactating or breastfeeding mothers, and both groups were excluded from pre-authorization clinical trials.
The letter also highlights how scientific research strongly suggests that COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy and breastfeeding is contraindicated. Some of the evidence outlined includes:
- The New England Journal of Medicine in June 2021 published an article titled “Preliminary Findings of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine Safety in Pregnant Persons,” which illustrates insufficient evidence concerning the “safety and efficacy” of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
- U.S. government’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) as of Nov. 11, 2022, confirms that 659 babies suffered adverse events, including one death after exposure to COVID-19 vaccines through breastmilk.
The most common serious events included life-threatening bleeding, anticholinergic syndrome, liver problems, anaphylactic shock, neuroleptic syndrome, neurological side effects such as convulsions or encephalitis and hypoglycemia. In most reported cases, several life-threatening injuries were recorded in the same baby.
- A study published in JAMA Pediatrics on Sept. 26, 2022, titled “Detection of Messenger RNA COVID-19 Vaccines in Human Breast Milk” detected messenger RNA from COVID-19 vaccines in human breast milk and cautions against breastfeeding infants for up to 48 hours post-vaccination.
The signatories believe that this data has driven many pregnant and breastfeeding military women to have legitimate safety concerns regarding COVID-19 vaccines and the potential risks to their children. They, therefore, urge the DOD to reconsider its policy and grant a temporary medical exemption to any breastfeeding mother who requests it.