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Pneumococcal Vaccines use while Breastfeeding

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Nov 9, 2022.

Pneumococcal Vaccines 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 for mothers or infants and that breastfeeding is not a contraindication to pneumococcal vaccine. Immunization of the mother during the third trimester of pregnancy markedly increases the amount of pneumococcal antibodies in breastmilk.[1] Breastfed infants should be vaccinated according to the routine recommended schedules.[2-4]

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

Limited data indicate that breastfeeding can enhance the response of the infant to certain vaccine antigens.[2,3,5,6]

Immunization of pregnant women with pneumococcal vaccine increased the specific secretory IgA content of milk and colostrum.[7-12] These antibodies in colostrum help inhibit epithelial adhesion of pneumococci to pharyngeal epithelial cells.[7] Some evidence of decreased pneumococcal disease has been found among breastfed infants of vaccinated mothers.[12] Infants breastfed for longer than 90 days have a better antibody response to some pneumococcal strains in the vaccine at 13 months of age than those breastfed less than 90 days.[13]

Effects on Lactation and Breastmilk

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


Maertens K, De Schutter S, Braeckman T, et al. Breastfeeding after maternal immunisation during pregnancy: Providing immunological protection to the newborn: A review. Vaccine. 2014;32:1786–92. [PubMed: 24530929]
Ezeanolue E, Harriman K, Hunter P, et al. Best Practices Guidance of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). https://www​​/hcp/acip-recs​/general-recs/index.html Accessed June 5, 2020.
Kimberlin DW, Brady MT, Jackson MA, et al. Red Book: 2018 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 31st ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics. 2018.
Gruslin A, Steben M, Halperin S, et al. Immunization in pregnancy: No. 220, December 2008. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2009;105:187–91. [PubMed: 19367691]
Pabst HF. Immunomodulation by breast-feeding. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1997;16:991–5. [PubMed: 9380478]
Binks MJ, Moberley SA, Balloch A, et al. Pneumum: Impact from a randomised controlled trial of maternal 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination on middle ear disease amongst indigenous infants, Northern Territory, Australia. Vaccine. 2015;33:6579–87. [PubMed: 26529076]
Deubzer HE, Obaro SK, Newman VO, et al. Colostrum obtained from women vaccinated with pneumococcal vaccine during pregnancy inhibits epithelial adhesion of Streptococcus pneumoniae. J Infect Dis. 2004;190:1758–61. [PubMed: 15499530]
Finn A, Zhang Q, Seymour L, et al. Induction of functional secretory IgA responses in breast milk, by pneumococcal capsular polysaccharides. J Infect Dis. 2002;186:1422–9. [PubMed: 12404157]
Muñoz FM, Englund JA, Cheesman CC, et al. Maternal immunization with pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine in the third trimester of gestation. Vaccine. 2001;20:826–37. [PubMed: 11738746]
Obaro SK, Deubzer HE, Newman VO, et al. Serotype-specific pneumococcal antibodies in breast milk of Gambian women immunized with a pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine during pregnancy. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2004;23:1023–9. [PubMed: 15545857]
Shahid NS, Steinhoff MC, Hoque SS, et al. Serum, breast milk, and infant antibody after maternal immunisation with pneumococcal vaccine. Lancet. 1995;346:1252–7. [PubMed: 7475716]
Lehmann D, Pomat WS, Riley ID, et al. Studies of maternal immunisation with pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine in Papua New Guinea. Vaccine. 2003;21:3446–50. [PubMed: 12850357]
Silfverdal SA, Ekholm L, Bodin L. Breastfeeding enhances the antibody response to Hib and pneumococcal serotype 6B and 14 after vaccination with conjugate vaccines. Vaccine. 2007;25:1497–502. [PubMed: 17097198]

Substance Identification

Substance Name

Pneumococcal Vaccines

Drug Class

Breast Feeding



Disclaimer: 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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