Social media post sparks debate about breast milk and immunity

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shared a social media post encouraging parents to vaccinate their children against measles and other diseases, as routine vaccines are required for children who attend school and daycare. In response to the post, some social media users commented that infants do not need routine vaccines because consuming breast milk from a vaccinated adult protects against disease.

Recommendation: While the comments on this post are few in number, lessening the risk, these types of comments downplay the importance of vaccination and the vulnerability of infants. Messaging may emphasize that while breastfed infants receive passive immunity to some diseases from antibodies when they breastfeed, this immunity wanes over time. Infants and children still need routine vaccines to stay protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. Learn more about recommended vaccines for infants and children from the CDC.