The death of a two-month-old baby on Tuesday most likely was due to sudden infant death syndrome, rather than from drinking mother’s milk after the child’s mother got vaccinated against COVID-19 on Monday, doctors have said.
Responding to the mother’s speculation that the AstraZeneca vaccine had contaminated her breast milk, leading to the death of her child, Central Epidemic Command Center Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices convener Lee Ping-ing (李秉穎) said that no country in the world deems COVID-19 vaccines unsafe for breastfeeding mothers.
The mother said that she found her daughter with foam and blood on her lips at 3am, four hours after breastfeeding.
The baby was rushed to a hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.
Lee, an infectious disease expert, said that COVID-19 vaccines are injected into a muscle to stimulate an immune response to the virus, without the risk that the drug would contaminate the recipient’s breast milk.
Echoing Lee, National Taiwan University Children’s Hospital superintendent Huang Li-min (黃立民) said it was highly unlikely that the infant’s death was caused by her mother’s breast milk.
When a child under the age of one dies suddenly and without obvious cause, it is most likely due to sudden infant death syndrome, Huang said, adding that an autopsy would be required to determine the cause of death.
Ministry of Health and Welfare data showed that 23 of the 165,249 babies born in the nation last year died of the syndrome.
Figures for the past few years were similar, with 24 deaths among 175,074 births in 2019 and 22 among 181,601 births in 2018, it showed.
The WHO says the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can be given to breastfeeding mothers, and the agency “does not recommend discontinuation of breastfeeding after vaccination.”