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Hepatitis B Vaccine use while Breastfeeding

Medically reviewed on January 9, 2018.

Hepatitis B Vaccine Levels and Effects while Breastfeeding

Summary of Use during Lactation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several health professional organizations state that vaccines given to a nursing mother do not affect the safety of breastfeeding infants and that breastfeeding is not a contraindication to the hepatitis B vaccine. Hepatitis B vaccine is recommended along with hepatitis B immune globulin to be given by injection to infants of mothers who are positive for hepatitis B surface antigen. No differences exist in infection rates between breast-fed and formula-fed infants born to hepatitis B-infected women, as long as the infant receives these preventative measures at birth. Mothers with hepatitis B are encouraged to breastfeed their infants after their infants receive these preventative measures.[1][2] Breastfeeding also appears to reduce infant side effects associated with routine childhood immunization. Breastfed infants should be vaccinated according to the routine recommended schedules.[3][4][5]

Drug Levels

Maternal Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Infant Levels. Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants

Breastfeeding can enhance the response of the infant to certain vaccine antigens.[3][5][6] Breastfed infants are also less likely to have fever[7] and may be less likely to experience anorexia and reduced energy intake[8] after routine childhood immunization than those who are not breastfed.

Breastfed infants of hepatitis B surface antigen positive mothers have a different response in the development of immunoglobulin subtypes after vaccination with hepatitis B vaccine than do formula-fed infants.[9] However, breastfeeding does not interfere with the infant's antibody response to hepatitis B vaccine.[10]

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.


1. Visvanathan K, Dusheiko G, Giles M et al. Managing HBV in pregnancy. Prevention, prophylaxis, treatment and follow-up: Position paper produced by Australian, UK and New Zealand key opinion leaders. Gut. 2016;65:340-50. PMID: 26475631

2. Dionne-Odom J, Tita AT, Silverman NS. #38: Hepatitis B in pregnancy screening, treatment, and prevention of vertical transmission. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016;214:6-14. PMID: 26454123

3. American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases, Kimberlin DW, Brady MT et al. Red Book: 2015 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 30th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics. 2015.

4. Gruslin A, Steben M, Halperin S et al. Immunization in pregnancy: No. 220, December 2008. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2009;105:187-91. PMID: 19367691

5. General recommendations on immunization --- recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Recomm Rep. 2011;60 (RR-2):1-64. PMID: 21293327

6. Pabst HF. Immunomodulation by breast-feeding. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1997;16:991-5. PMID: 9380478

7. Pisacane A, Continisio P, Palma O et al. Breastfeeding and risk for fever after immunization. Pediatrics. 2010;125:e1448-52. PMID: 20478932

8. Lopez-Alarcon M, Garza C, Habicht JP et al. Breastfeeding attenuates reductions in energy intake induced by a mild immunologic stimulus represented by DPTH immunization: possible roles of interleukin-1beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha and leptin. J Nutr. 2002;132:1293-8. PMID: 12042449

9. Azzari C, Resti M, Rossi ME et al. Modulation by human milk of IgG subclass response to hepatitis B vaccine in infants. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1990;10:310-5. PMID: 2324890

10. Wang JS, Zhu QR, Wang XH. Breastfeeding does not pose any additional risk of immunoprophylaxis failure on infants of HBV carrier mothers. Int J Clin Pract. 2003;57(2):100-2. PMID: 12661791

Hepatitis B Vaccine Identification

Substance Name

Hepatitis B Vaccine

Drug Class


Administrative Information

LactMed Record Number



Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. The U.S. government does not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.

Further information

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