The above photo has been circulating on social media stating that a baby died after breasting. The reason? His mother allegedly received her second dose of a COVID vaccine, and that caused something to presumably taint her breast milk, causing the baby to break out in a rash before experiencing severe medical complications and dying.
Is the story real or a hoax? According to investigative site Snopes, the report is “unproven.” Here’s what we know for certain.
Breastfeeding Baby After COVID Vaccine
In late March 2021, claims circulated on the internet about an infant boy who died after his breastfeeding mother received a second dose of an unspecified COVID-19 vaccine. The above photograph accompanied the posts, showing a rash on the boy’s skin, thus connecting that image with the story. The implication is that this is what the child looked like after breastfeeding, and that this baby died as result.
Snopes traced the story back to a Facebook user named Caitlyn RN, who posts numerous items on her wall against vaccinations. In the Snopes screengrab, they show the above image with the following quote:
Lyndsi received her second dose last Wednesday. Thursday her breastfed baby was covered in a head to toe rash. By that night he was inconsolable and declining so they went to the ER. Baby was diagnosed witht thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura and elevated liver enzymes. He was hospitalized and began various treatments but continued to decline. He passed away last night.
However, when we reviewed Caitlyn RN’s page, she has made some corrections. First there’s this image, where she confirms Lyndsi is her friend, and with the same message posted above in bold.
However, now Caitlyn RN has posted this message in her feed: “The baby I reported about passing away after mom got the second Pfizer vaccine is NOT this baby pictured from the Vaccination Re-education Discussion Forum
I specified such in my original post but it seems to be getting overlooked. The pictured infant is apparently doing much better as of a week ago when I last saw an update.
A screenshot of her full claim is posted at the bottom of this article; it should be noted that in the above statement she says it happened after the mom got “the second Pfizer vaccine” — information about her “friend” that had not been stated in previous posts. Likewise, she tells her followers to check their facts before reposting her messages. She also mentions the original source of the baby picture, but doesn’t discuss how that image got tied to her information about Lyndsi.
This all adds to the suspicious nature of the post. As Snopes notes, “the content of the post was vague and in no instance gave the last name of ‘Lyndsi,’ her location, or any other identifying characteristics. In most instances, users did not cite an original source but simply credited the story to an unnamed friend.” Likewise, while the rash looks authentic, “we cannot say with certainty what type of rash it was or what might have caused it. Nor did the original poster include any identifying information that would allow our team to track a death certificate or any other information about the child or its condition. Thus, we rate this claim as ‘Unproven.'”
It seems that the people discussing this story online are either in the anti-vaccination camp or simply sharing a fear-based story — as often happens with internet hoaxes. A recent survey did uncover many parents’ fears about giving the vaccine to their children even though they, themselves, would take it.
So, rather than diving deeper into whether or not this specific story is true or fake news perpetuated over social media, here are some facts to consider.
What We Know
Though anti-vaxxers will dispute the following information, here is what we know about the COVID vaccine, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) issued a practice advisory.
- “COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination based on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)-recommended priority groups.”
- “COVID-19 vaccines should be offered to lactating individuals similar to non-lactating individuals when they meet criteria for receipt of the vaccine based on prioritization groups outlined by the ACIP.”
Likewise, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) issued an advisory statement.
- “During lactation, it is unlikely that the vaccine lipid would enter the bloodstream and reach breast tissue. If it does, it is even less likely that either the intact nanoparticle or mRNA transfer into milk. In the unlikely event that mRNA is present in milk, it would be expected to be digested by the child and would be unlikely to have any biological effects.
- “While there is little plausible risk for the child, there is a biologically plausible benefit. Antibodies and T-cells stimulated by the vaccine may passively transfer into milk. Antibodies transferred into milk may therefore protect the infant from infection with SARS-CoV-2.”
The bottom line? Like with politics or news, get medical advice and recommendations from an authoritative source and not from someone on social media — especially someone you don’t know first hand.